By Claire West

Responding to the comments of Dame Elisabeth Hoodless, retiring from the Community Service Volunteers, Mark Littlewood, Director General of the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:

“Those arguing that volunteerism and the charitable sector will be hurt by government spending cuts are fundamentally missing the point. The Big Society is surely an alternative to public spending, not yet another means of handing out taxpayers’ money.

“Many charities are now so reliant on public money it’s almost absurd to call them charities. This increasingly means that many charities are becoming an extended arm of the state.

“If the government wants to see the Big Society flourish, it must ignore the voices of those representing charities dependent on government funding. The charitable sector needs to harness and nurture the generosity of individual men and women, not go cap in hand to Whitehall bureaucrats for grants.”