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Cameron defines his Big Society "passion"

By Tim Montgomerie

Earlier today David Cameron was in Liverpool to relaunch his vision of a 'Big Society;. He said that there were some responsibilities as Prime Minister that he did not enjoy - like cutting the deficit. The Big Society, however, was his "passion". Pasted below are defining sections of the speech.

Screen shot 2010-07-19 at 11.29.01 In the Big Society, people don't look to the state for everything: "The Big Society is about a huge culture change… where people, in their everyday lives, in their homes, in their neighbourhoods, in their workplace… don’t always turn to officials, local authorities or central government for answers to the problems they face… but instead feel both free and powerful enough to help themselves and their own communities."

Some practical examples of Big Society policies: "It’s about people setting up great new schools. Businesses helping people getting trained for work. Charities working to rehabilitate offenders... Paying public service providers by results."

Government should actively help the Big Society to grow: "We shouldn’t be naïve enough to think that if the government rolls back and does less, then miraculously society will spring up and do more. The truth is that we need a government that actually helps to build up the Big Society."

The Big Society is about "nano" decentralisation: "We must push power away from central government to local government – and we shouldn’t stop there. We should drive it down even further to what Phil Redmond has called the ‘nano’ level… to communities, to neighbourhoods and individuals."

The Big Society is about transparent information: "If we want people to play a bigger part in our society, we need to give them the information. So, for example, by releasing the data about precisely when and where crimes have taken place on the streets we can give people the power not just to hold the police to account but to go even further, and take action themselves – for instance, starting a new neighbourhood watch scheme, youth club or an after-school club if they realise that’s when most of the trouble begins."

The Big Society is about investing in start-up community projects: "We have already said we will create a Big Society Bank to help finance social enterprises, charities and voluntary groups through intermediaries. And I can announce today that it will be established using every penny of dormant bank and building society account money allocated to England."

Neighbourhood empowerment: "New powers for local communities to take over the running of parks, libraries and post offices. More powers to plan the look, size, shape and feel of housing developments. Powers to generate their own energy and have beat meetings to hold police to account."

Local community projects will be empowered by 'Bureaucracy Busters' and community organisers: "We will make available officials from the Department of Communities and Local Government. If there’s a problem or obstacle or bureaucratic log-jam, they will be there, on hand, to help break them down and get things moving. And we’ll also work with communities to help identify and fund a community organiser for each area. These will be trained people who know how to stimulate and organise local support for – and involvement in – community action."

The full speech is on the 10 Downing Street website.


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