The voluntary sector has always managed to function despite interference by government – particularly Conservative administrations. David Cameron’s vocal support for the sector is only matched by his will to undermine it.
He and in his colleagues the coalition deliberately ignore the fact that such drastic cuts will result in the closing down of places where voluntary work is carried out, for example; libraries, day centres, and community centres. Those who most benefit from the voluntary sector will be the hardest hit. The disabled and the elderly, for example, will be further isolated at a time when they are overwhelmingly financially squeezed.
There is an additional affront to the intelligence of the British people in all of this. The government claim that they are handing back power to the community, helping us control our own destiny; quite how we going to manage this with even less resources allocated to local authorities is deliberately unclear. Furthermore, the more impoverished the community, the least financial resources given to it. This is cynical in the extreme and ideological in its motivation.
The Conservatives have never believed in the Welfare State, the NHS or any of the reforms made by the post-war consensus, something that the Thatcher government was the first to break away from. Margaret Thatcher was fond of espousing that the UK should return to “Victorian Values”, conveniently forgetting that such values resulted in workhouses, debtor’s prisons and child labour. It is logical to conclude that the Cameron government are an extension of such Thatcherism and certainly this is reflected in their policy-making. David Cameron doesn’t want to create a Big Society; he simply wants to shrink the state.
The local authorities in the most deprived areas of the UK are more often than not Labour controlled (proportionally, their budgets are cut the greatest). They will not be able to function with such limited resources and this is already having devastating effect. The coalition will blame these local authorities for any failures. And what will happen when voluntary organisations are so cash strapped they can no longer function? They will be also judged as failures and sold off to private companies. That is David Cameron’s Big Society. Big Profit-making for a small society of wealthy elitists.