Balls: Big Society is surefire route to a weaker society

Shadow home secretary Ed Balls today attacked the David Cameron's "Big Society" policy agenda, labelling it a "big con" leading to public services being run by volunteers on the cheap and a significant deterioration in crime prevention.

Shadow home secretary Ed Balls has attacked David Cameron’s “Big Society” policy agenda, labelling it a “big con” leading to public services being run by volunteers on the cheap and a significant deterioration in crime prevention. Writing in today’s Tribune, Balls says the 20 per cent cut to the Home Office budget will jeopardise the police’s ability to engage in a wider role of effective crime prevention, and calls the narrowing of the focus of police forces misguided.

He writes:

“… all the senior police officers I’ve met in my constituency, and over the last month doing this new job, recognise they cannot effectively deal with crime and anti-social behaviour if they view their role as being simply about ‘catching and convicting criminals’.”

Projects such as the Family Intervention Projects, though costing up to £15,000 per family, actually saved money said Balls, arguing that troublesome families, if not dealt with, can cost the taxpayer £250,000 – £350,000.

He adds:

“They [constabularies] know they also have a wider responsibility to work with other services to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour in the first place. The coalition doesn’t seem to understand this.

“And for all David Cameron’s rhetoric about a ‘big society’, the reality of the government’s policies look set to weaken not strengthen our society – because it’s not just prevention and early intervention which is facing deep and immediate cuts, but local policing too.”

Coupled with a 27 per cent budget cut to local government, Balls says the cuts to police budgets are all about “devolving blame” not power. and that front-loaded cuts – with the biggest cut of 8 per cent due in the year of the Olympics – render any efficiency savings obsolete.

He concludes:

“So this is the coalition’s big idea: shrink the state, make the security of local communities increasingly reliant on the good-will of volunteers, expect charities to fill the gap and provide public services for free, cut the very services which prevent crime and anti-social behaviour and devolve the blame just in time for when it all goes wrong.

“That’s why I say David Cameron’s ‘big society’ is a big con. It’s a sure-fire route to a weaker society and it’s time we exposed it.”

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17 Responses to “Balls: Big Society is surefire route to a weaker society”

  1. paulstpancras

    RT @leftfootfwd: Balls: Big Society is surefire route to a weaker society http://bit.ly/9Ngpyk @LeftFootFwd

  2. GORDON LYEW

    RT @leftfootfwd: Balls: Big Society is surefire route to a weaker society http://bit.ly/9Ngpyk @LeftFootFwd

  3. mark wright

    RT @leftfootfwd: Balls: Big Society is surefire route to a weaker society http://bit.ly/9Ngpyk @LeftFootFwd

  4. reded

    The corollary of Cameron’s “Big Society” is a small state. He is an enemy of the state.

    Inevitably the state will triumph.

  5. Ellie Gellard

    RT @leftfootfwd : @edballsmp – Big Society is surefire route to a weaker society http://bit.ly/9Ngpyk

  6. Terry

    Terry says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    November 12, 2010 at 7:38 pm
    This is absolute nonsense and is the sort of political attitude that has disempowered our communities over the last 10 years. Sitting back and relying on public services is no way of building a strong and cohesive society.
    If you want to see Community Empowerment and the Big Society in action, then visit Street Watch at http://www.street-watch.org.uk of which I am a proud volunteer community member, working in partnership with the police to make my community safer.

  7. William Jones

    RT @BevaniteEllie: RT @leftfootfwd : @edballsmp – Big Society is surefire route to a weaker society http://bit.ly/9Ngpyk

  8. arif khwaja

    #FollowFriday @EdBallsMP – spot on as ever.. Providing leadership labour desperately needs…http://bit.ly/9Ngpyk

  9. Mr. Sensible

    Ed Balls is correct.

    The best way to deal with crime is prevent it, and these cuts to prevention programmes won’t do that.

  10. merthyr_bill

    the best way to deal with crime is to prevent immigration from pakistan and the carribean

  11. Anon E Mouse

    Ed Balls represents the worst of the last Labour government and his comments on the state and law and order should be ignored by a man who endorsed ID Cards and his “big state” “we know best” desires.

    This approach of childish scaremongering was exactly was was just rejected by the electorate.

    So far Labour are in complete disarray and need to shut up, regroup and formulate a sensible and credible plan to oppose the government for the right reasons not this pathetic “what might happen if” scaremongering…

  12. merthyr_bill

    and lock up the core labour vote

  13. Chris

    @Terry

    “This is absolute nonsense and is the sort of political attitude that has disempowered our communities over the last 10 years.”

    Putting police on the streets and pro-actively dealing with ASB disempowered communities? Interesting take on that.

    “Sitting back and relying on public services is no way of building a strong and cohesive society.”

    What is the point in having public services if you aren’t going to use them?

    “If you want to see Community Empowerment and the Big Society in action, then visit Street Watch at http://www.street-watch.org.uk of which I am a proud volunteer community member, working in partnership with the police to make my community safer.”

    What was the crime rate before you started StreetWatch? With large cuts in police budgets there will be less chance of police having the time to work in partnership and will return to the reactive approach we had before ’97.

    @mousey the tory press officer

    Yawn, do you actually write the rubbish you puke up or do you just use the twat-o-tron?

    @merthyr_bill

    I can’t even be bothered with your vile idiot wind.

  14. merthyr_bill

    “What is the point in having public services if you aren’t going to use them?”

    Typical big state idiot. If you don’t use public services you probably don’t need them!!

  15. Chris

    “Typical big state idiot. If you don’t use public services you probably don’t need them!!”

    I’ve never used the police or the fire brigade, don’t I need them?

  16. Bryonny G-H

    RT @leftfootfwd: Balls: Big Society is surefire route to a weaker society http://bit.ly/aI2teK

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