Friday 24 December 2010

Letter No 7: Charity, Donations and the Big Society

Letter No 7 is a Christmas card of sorts.  It seemed appropriate to put in a pop-up Citizens Advice Bureau because, for many, Christmas is just a brief diversion from the difficulties that lie ahead (and for some people, not even that) and maddeningly, despite this, the Government is cutting CAB funding.

In case you find it difficult to read the writing, here is what I've written:
"Dear Dave and Nick, 
Christmas is fast approaching and I'm adding the last finishing touches to my (scaled down) preparations.  This is a time for giving and this year, on your behalf I will be making a donation to the CAB - or Citizens Advice Bureau.  It was an easy choice; with all the cuts you have planned I can see how useful my (woefully small) donation will be.  You might like to look at this article which sadly made me realise how grim the New Year, January and beyond, will be for so many people:
I really worry that the Big Society (and the charities) won't be able to fill the void as the public sector shrinks... So my question for you is: might you be cutting too much, too soon and in the wrong areas?
(I know some of your Cabinet think so...)
 Best wishes...etc "
Please take the time to read the article I refer to in the card.  The papers are talking this week about the imminent fall of redundancy notices on the doormats of public sector workers.  If you find it hard to grasp the scale of the cuts, have a look at the Pudsey Economic Comparator on False Economy's website.  You might think charity begins at home, but it's clearly not up to the job of dealing adequately with what lies ahead.  It seems like a pipe dream that the private and voluntary sector will fill the gap left by the shrinking public sector.  Dave's Big Society and charitable organisations will be completely out of their depth once the cuts kick in. Therefore, I'm making a very loud call for all the concerned and troubled Lib Dem Cabinet members we've been hearing about over the last few days, to start standing up for the vulnerable NOW.

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