Monday, 18 October 2010 12:36

Rural warning over Big Society

Written by  Ruralcity Media
David Cameron: backing the Big Society David Cameron: backing the Big Society

RURAL communities are calling for more support if they are to deliver the aims of the government’s Big Society.

A flagship Tory policy, the Big Society aims to give local residents more power and encourage people to take an active role in their communities.

The Commission for Rural Communities said the principles of the Big Society approach were already well embedded in much of rural England.

But many organisations had real fears that a lack of funding would significantly damage progress in delivering Big Society objectives, it warned.

“Moreover, demand for many of their services is growing at a time when resources are reducing,” said the commission.

The warning is contained in a commission report examining the challenges and opportunities afforded by the Big Society in rural England.

It was written after 70 submissions of evidence from civil society organisations and other stakeholders on the economic aspects of the Big Society agenda.

“Rural communities may be disproportionately affected by the forthcoming spending cuts,” the commission said.

It also voiced concern that local authorities may set up delivery organisations that start competing with existing voluntary groups.

“There is also a view that in future local rural communities may have to depend more on actions from their local parish and town councils.”

Respondents to the call for evidence called for more clarity from central and local government on the impact of the Big Society.

The report highlights a feeling that there is little hard information available about the Big Society agenda.

“Civil society organisations who gave us evidence were clear that with the right support and encouragement there is much more that they could,” it says.

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