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Liverpudlians headbutt Cameron's 'big society'

Now not quite as big, as council withdraws

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Liverpool City Council has withdrawn from David Cameron's "big society" - the radical restructuring of the administrative paradigm which was meant to see real people running their own local services.

The BBC explains that when he announced Liverpool would be a big society "vanguard" last year, the PM expressed the hope that "community groups should be able to run post offices, libraries, transport services and shape housing projects".

However, council leader Joe Anderson says government cuts to community groups, specifically "the loss of more than £100m of Area Based Grants to Liverpool", have scuppered the grand plan before Cameron's society got anywhere approaching big.

Anderson wrote to Cameron: "How can the city council support the big society and its aim to help communities do more for themselves when we will have to cut the lifeline to hundreds of these vital and worthwhile groups?

"I have therefore come to the conclusion that Liverpool City Council can no longer support the big society initiative, as a direct consequence of your funding decisions."

The writing was on the wall for the Liverpool big society when it lost the support of a Merseyside heavyweight - Brookside creator Phil Redmond. He'd originally embraced the idea and taken the helm of a project "involving volunteering and cultural activities in Liverpool", but decided it was on a hike to nowhere, having been "undermined by public spending cuts".

The remaining big society vanguard areas are Eden Valley, Windsor and Maidenhead and the London borough of Sutton, where presumably Cameron is hoping "the biggest, most dramatic redistribution of power from elites in Whitehall to the man and woman on the street" can still "turn government completely on its head". ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

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