This week, the heads of Britain’s biggest charities accused David Cameron of abandoning the voluntary sector he once championed as the heart of his Big Society project.
They say that they have been left out of policy consultations and had their funding slashed. They say that the vulnerable people for whom they care are having state help eroded and are being labelled as benefit scroungers.
Their frustration has grown as charities have been left out of the Government’s latest reforms, such as the Work Programme, designed to push those on benefits back into employment. The “payment by results” scheme, which has had disappointing outcomes, is now largely run by the private sector.
So, the Big Society is already dead. But, it’s also clear that Cameron and Clegg’s claim to be adopting a One Nation approach to our economic, environmental and social challenges is also deceased. The Government’s approach on welfare has shown them to be more interested in exploiting the challenges the country faces than solving them.
It has looked to divide the country by dishonestly claiming that their welfare policies are targeting the work-shy and benefit ‘scroungers’. But in the weeks since the Autumn Statement the truth has emerged that it’s striving families doing the right thing that are paying the price of their economic failure. It’s working families that are paying the price of their economic failure. Two-thirds of people hit by the cuts to tax credits and benefits in the Autumn Statement are in work, whereas £3bn is being given in tax cuts to the highest paid.
Perhaps the charities should ask David Cameron to approach each of the 8000+ millionaires, to whom he is giving an average £107,000 tax cut, and request them to donate that towards providing some assistance to the rapidly increasing number of working families who are becoming homeless or visiting food-banks or will simply struggle to pay the bills?