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Big Society Bank: Will it work?

10:51 UK time, Monday, 14 February 2011

The Prime Minister, David Cameron, has launched the 'Big Society Bank', a £200 million pound project using money from dormant bank accounts to fund social enterprises. But will this scheme work?

Cabinet Officer Minister, Francis Maude says: "The Big Society Bank will massively expand finance for social ventures, creating a new source of finance alongside philanthropy and public service contracts."

But critics have warned that investment in public services is needed if the Big Society Bank is to succeed.

What do you make of this new bank? Do you think it will put pressure on volunteers at a time of big public spending cuts? Has Mr Cameron fully answered your questions about the government's Big Society programme? Will you get involved?


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  • Comment number 1.

    Big Society will not work until Capitalism is watered-down significantly - my boss earns the equivalent of 50 years of my annual pay. I call that unjust distribution of wealth that propagates a competitive unfair society - the opposite of the Big Society. I pay a lot of tax, and have a large family to look after. I'm tapped-out. Mr Cameron: you're living in cuckoo-land.

  • Comment number 2.

    I don't see why we didn't simply extend the remit of say, Post Office savings.

  • Comment number 3.

    Just checked and its not April 1st

  • Comment number 4.

    I've just been into the Halifax and reclaimed the £11 I had in my old childhood bank account I've not accessed in 17 years. Cameron can use this BS as a sticking plaster over the gaping wound his cuts agenda will leave but I'll be damned if I pay anything towards helping him do it.

  • Comment number 5.

    If we are suppost to be in it together what is going to be done to embrace those excluded people ie the Ms (middle age, middle income, mortgage payers, motorist, MIDDLE ENGLAND)?

    Up to now unless you were a member of a FAVOURED group you were first in line to MAKE payments, but last in line to RECEIVE payments.

    The favoured play, the non favoured pay.

  • Comment number 6.


  • Comment number 7.

    The only ones who can afford to help out local communities are bankers and their wives. The PM should start a register of bankers wives - they could run libraries and post offices as volunteers where Local Authorities are making staff redundant. And in villages where bankers have their holiday cottages they could help out the community by emptying dustbins. This would assist hard-pressed councils where dustmen have been sacked to save money.
    Don't forget this is all because Gordon Brown had to borrow billions to save the Banks.

  • Comment number 8.

    Francis Maude has has massively over estimated just how far and to whom the 200m will go. Like many others in the ConDem Government Mr Maude has to idea what real life is like as these people live in a cocoon.

    I'm not great at maths but 200 million for the Big Society does not equate to billions of cuts which have been made and will continue to be made until the current Govermnent have done their worst.

    The Government needs to massively expand it's thinking over what it is doing to this country and Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg need to stop looking smug every time he appears on television. The Dave and Nick show has just about had it's day and the public have just about had enough.

    I don't know why they bothered with manifestos as they seem to have been included in the slash and burn policies.

  • Comment number 9.

    200 million pound is peanuts compared to all the actual posts that have been cut, surely. Who is going to monitor all the " hordes" of volunteers that our Dave is expecting to jump on his sleazy band wagon ? Are there going to be training courses for volunteers to learn how to run youth clubs, become carers for the elderly and frail, deal with mental health problems, support inadequate parents. ? Who is going to pay for the courses? Or won't it matter if volunters do not have the necessary skills. ? I'm afraid the poor and vulnerable will suffer when more and more services are dismantled. The well off will be ablt to pay. What a fragmented society we will become. Too many people these days lack any responsibility towards their own selves. Are they suddenly going to devlop a badge of honour then, and rush out to help their neighbours? Shambles springs to mind.

  • Comment number 10.

    I wish Cameron would speak plainly. I'm a Conservative supporter, I've took A level politics and I haven't a clue what he is going on about.

    Instead of using marketing type phrases why doesn't he just say that the government will
    1. Dismantle the nanny state, the bureaucracy and the excess benefits.
    2. Reform the criminal law to stop Human Rights legislation being used as a shield by criminals and illegal immigrants.
    3. Reverse the dead hand of compensation culture by reforming civil law.

    What we want are actions not fancy phrases.

  • Comment number 11.

    I feel like a lab rat taking part in one of David Camerons experiments, will it work, or won't it?

    Dormant bank accounts? Can someone elaborate on this, where have these accounts come from, how many more are there? This is very sinister.

    I'm not sure I like this whole "power to the people" path this lot are taking. Where I think we should have power over our own money and where it is spent, is this not what we vote for a government to do for us? It seems to me that the Tories are merely moving the responsibility of running the country onto us instead of the government. Guess who Mr Cameron will blame if it all goes wrong...US! Total hipocracy!

  • Comment number 12.

    I'm not sure what this Big Society is all about. It sounds like it's a desperate govenment that wants us to do things for free whilst they carry on paying themselves big salaries, pensions and expenses.

    And now a new bank that is going to take money from dormant accounts and spend it without the owners' permissions- that's theft isn't it?

    Anyway, we had a bank called the National Giro. Government sold this off to Alliance & Leicester who sold it on to the Spanish (Santander) so how long is it before they flog this one to our competitors?

  • Comment number 13.

    A Social Bank seems a good idea. Start of small and build from there unlike the previous Labour Government of spending big, money gets wasted, and then blame everyone else. NHS IT project anyone?

  • Comment number 14.

    Big for who? "Call me Dave" thinks the private sector is going to fill in all the gaps caused by the decimation of our public services. He needs a reality check. The chief executive of the firm I work for got a 60% pay rise last year - those of us who actually do the work are getting 2%.
    Nothing will convince me that the thinking behind this whole policy isn't economical, it's idealogical. The Tories have always hated the Welfare State, now they're dismantling it.
    When are the City fatcats who caused this mess going to pay us back in full for bailing them out? Considering they contribute more than half the Tory party's funds, I won't hold my breath.

  • Comment number 15.

    So far I havn't as promised by the ConDems seen many Private Sector businesses filling the gap when jobs are lost in the public sector and other businesses. Just how do the Goverment intend to fund the uneployment they are creating. The Big Society won't have enough money to pay for the cuts as less people earning will mean less money into the coffers.

    No doubt their next ploy will be to hike up taxation for anyone left working. Except of course the bankers.

  • Comment number 16.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 17.

    My understanding (& if I'm wrong please correct me) is that the state was prevented from operating Northern Rock as a fully state owned retail bank because of EU-competition laws. Surely Cameron is getting dangerously close to the same position with this idea? I'd be quite happy to move my ISA from RBS to 'bank of Dave' if he'll pay me more interest but is he allowed to?

  • Comment number 18.

    The Big State or Big Society which is better? It is very typical Tory policy to cut back public sending, decimate services until the country needs a Labour government that has to spend and borrow to bring public services and society back from the brink of collapse.

    But why won’t the Big Society work? Because volunteer groups work with Local Authorities to bring forward projects and services. The next 6 months Local government will shed loads of jobs which will make any working partnership with volunteer groups impossible. Why not give the 200 Million to Local Authorities? Magically this money has been found for a project that will fail and another 200 Million wasted down the drain!

    The Tory government came into power with one thing on their mind – CUTS! Working class understand that for the Tories it’s help your mates! Soon the middle class will get the same treatment – middle class you pull the wool over your eyes if you think this government is looking after you.

  • Comment number 19.

    When the tories cam to power in 1979, outgoing PM James Callaghan warned we would have "soup kitchen social services". I fear this is what the "Big Society" is about. Apparently, people like myself, who work full time, are expected to also take part in running my local services, free of charge, and without any reduction in the taxes I already pay so that someone else can do the job for me.
    Also, The fact that Mr Cameron is still trying to explain to us what his idea actually means suggests to me that, like "Back to Basics" and "Cool Britania", this idea isn't going to be much of a success.

  • Comment number 20.

    I heard of taking sweets from a baby, but money from my childhood bank account. I could do with that tenner, and expect there are about 20million similar people at some point in time.

    So we give xyz million to the bankers, then take xyz million of the money we where given as children for the bankers to look after to pay for it all.

    anyone fancy going bankrupt? all is fare in big society.

  • Comment number 21.

    To watch a '80s re-tread like Francis Maude pushing the Big Society on TV last weekend, just confirmed what a swindle it will be.
    The driving force behind the Big Society is the desire by the small-state freemarketeers running this coalition, to end State provision of public services and replace it with private-sector providers.
    See who gets the contracts to provide services, it won't local groups of volunteers.

  • Comment number 22.

    So we have Thatcher widely pilloried over her (misquoted) comment about "no such thing as society", and now that we have Cameron actually wanting us to do something to regain that element of community and society, we have yet more mindless jeering.

    Not that there are kneejerk anti-Tory reactions in this country, oh no.

  • Comment number 23.

    To me, as what is fast becoming an Ex-Lifelong-Conservative, this looks like chucking people out of work and then expecting people who are having to work harder for no pay rises and to pay more tax to prop up the holes in the system created by the cuts. And for free!!

    Who is he kidding??

    So I'm thinking that Big Society = Big Con and Big Deal, and No, I won't be getting involved because to do so requires a Feelgood Factor which I frankly don't have under this Government.

    Mr Cameron isn't going to last long when people like me start thinking like this about him.

    As to his Big Bank idea, he'd be better off addressing the problems with the ones who caused all this mess rather than fiddling around with red herrings like this.

    Please - Get Real, Mr Cameron....we are not all complete idiots out here you know.

  • Comment number 24.

    A real bank for real people would be a trillion times more useful, Mr Cameron, and you need to pass that message on to your cronies in Threadneedle Street.

  • Comment number 25.

    Nice one No 7...

    Didn't Caligula do something similar with his Senators' wives?

  • Comment number 26.

    Cameron claims that his Big Society project will fail because of spending cuts. ? ? ?

    Time to send for the gentlemen in white coats. ? ? ?

  • Comment number 27.

    actually after reading the article, it looks like the BBC is adding a bit of spin.

    It wouldn't be 'legal' for the government to use it's own money, they even have to have permission from the EU to do it with other peoples money.

    Apparently it's unfair for the government and private sector to compete on that level, I really wish I could use NHS funds to offset private treatment or 'comprehensive education' funds to offset home-schooling etc...

    That's the real issue, there is no competition for government, nor know 'social' base competition or funding for private alternatives.

    Now if the conflict between law and services could be separated out of government we may have a democracy at last.

  • Comment number 28.

    Not a chance. Would you trust the Con/Fibs with any more of your money? Look what they've all squandered so far.

  • Comment number 29.

    Big society means instead of government paying for things, we all have to do it ourselves working for nothing. You first, Davey Boy.

  • Comment number 30.

    It sounds like the big society bank should easily make enough money to pay its chosen management handsome salaries and pensions. Lucky them.

  • Comment number 31.

    Banks require some kind of security. What security are the volunteers supposed to give? Will they be expected to take personal responsibility for debts, perhaps to secure them on their homes?

    Cameron cannot be serious. If he expects volunteers to take on jobs formally done by people paid by the state, the state might at least give them any capital they require as a grant not a loan.

    Right wing people believe that the state has become to big, and taxes wealthy people to much in order to help the poor. Cameron intends to cut it down. The big society is just a fantasy invented to fool the people into believing that they will not suffer as a result.

    If the state is out of control, the answer must be to improve the mechanism, which is democracy, used to control it - not to abandon it.

    Elected politicians are ultimately in charge, so lets make them more responsive to the people. Lets get rid of safe seats by introducing STV in multimember constituencies, and how about more frequent elections, four and a half years is far too long to have to wait to correct the blunder many voters made when they voted Lib Dem?

  • Comment number 32.

    Is this the same Big Society where the local council decides on planning applications and the Government rides roughshod over these decisions and overturns them.

  • Comment number 33.

    Oh brilliant ...I love it ...then we can all pay ourselves massive bonuses!
    As I have said before on HYS I did not vote for this government. The big society to me is a big nothing ...just like the coalition. Now I have to try an get on with my life know pay bills, help my son find a job now that university seems to be financially out of reach ...

  • Comment number 34.

    10. At 11:55am on 14 Feb 2011, Bradford wrote:

    I wish Cameron would speak plainly. I'm a Conservative supporter, I've took A level politics and I haven't a clue what he is going on about.

    Instead of using marketing type phrases why doesn't he just say that the government will
    1. Dismantle the nanny state, the bureaucracy and the excess benefits.
    2. Reform the criminal law to stop Human Rights legislation being used as a shield by criminals and illegal immigrants.
    3. Reverse the dead hand of compensation culture by reforming civil law.

    What we want are actions not fancy phrases.


    Unfortunately thats not what people want. Labour used sloguns. This time tories used them.

    Nobody says what they mean anymore which is why it is impossible to trust any politician. But its all our fault. People are inspired by fancy phrases which dont mean a thing. The facts scare them and even now so many are in denial about reality.

    I would love to hear facts and statements of intent, but the sloguns tend to take the lead and we know less and less.

  • Comment number 35.

    What this really means is we continue to pay taxes and VAT at ever higher rates, but if we want services, we have to pay again or rely on volunteers.

    Cameron should stop all this nonsense and get on with cutting waste. We need Smaller Government, not a Bigger Society.

  • Comment number 36.

    Cutting services and then replacing them with charities works for the cuddly charities such as those for children but not for the unglamarous needs of the community such as mental health.

  • Comment number 37.

    Mr Cameron doesn't have the first clue how real life is, he's always had enough money to pay a little man to cater for his needs. I am on a fundraising committee for a childrens charity. Even before this shower of buffoons got in to government I heard stories of sure start centres offering a fantastic, fit for purpose support service for young families having the government portion of their funding removed because it put the purely government funded centres to shame. This situation is going to become more prevalent, not just in family support centres, while the con dems push their big society idea while cutting funding. The big society is a good idea in principle, but while people are having to work all the hours god sends just to put food on their table & keep a roof over their heads it's not going to happen.

  • Comment number 38.

    Let's be honest - the Big Society is the equivalent of Thatcher's YOP scheme. People who are unemployed will be forced to participate in order to claim their benefits. It's a bit like green-washing, only this is "society washing" - tart it up to look like it's volunteering but it's really slave labour for the most vulnerable people in society.
    If Project Voldemort (aka Project Merlin) had actually tackled the issue of banks repaying their debts to the tax payer with interest; forced public owned banks to keep the ratio of lowest paid to highest paid under 20 times (ie if the lowest paid earns a full time equivalent salary of 15k then the boss earns no more than 150k) then this government might just have earned some respect.

  • Comment number 39.

    I'm totally bought-into the concept of Big Society, however I'm not sure the government are.

    My vision of big society is whether we are allowed to develop ourselves, and to resolve our own issues. Self-governing is the key to this, however the current 'parliament' is an exclusive bunch, that fails to address the key fundamental that people will never grow is the state runs their lives for them.

    I stood for parliament in the last elections not to pepetuate the current system, but to devolve power and influence to everyone.

    Big society - YES, but not under the current parliament (or any other that is based on exclusion).

  • Comment number 40.

    The illusion of the empty box. This glib tongued little timeshare salesman should be an on stage illusionist. "BIG SOCIETY" .. same old sound bites.. same old twaddle.. business as usually. What an airy fairy set of words that mean absolutely " NOTHING"

  • Comment number 41.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 42.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 43.

    I'm sorry, but using other people's money without their consent (the "dormant" bank accounts) is theft. Where money is removed from an account without the customer's knowledge or say so is illegal in this country, isn't it?

    Now I have to check through my old accounts to make sure I have left no money in them.

  • Comment number 44.

    Big Government and the Big Society are incompatible. If the ideas behind the big society are to be understood, it would mean a bottom up approach to how many things are done in society, rather than a top down intiative from government. The fact that we have a government minister with responsibility for the big society, not to mention armies of civil servants preparing tons of documents all written in big society-speak, indicates why the project is doomed.

    One more intitiative from a government which, in many respects, is looking like New Labour - a daily government solution for every problem.
    We have seen Big Government initiatives, as in the multicultural experiment which funded armies of PC bureacrats and expensive schemes which have had a questionable impact on community relations.

    Big Government needs to butt out. As Sarah Palin correctly points out, Big Government is the problem. Let the people get on with it. She often quotes Reagan: the worst words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I've come to help you'.

    My experience is with small time charities, animal welfare and more, and these come in two sizes: the big, with access to Big Government and its quangoes, and the little charities, below the radar of government and its big society gurus. Yes it would be nice if we had some government hand-outs, but there are usually unpalatable strings attached.

    The problem is that the UK, since the Second World War, has enjoyed a collectivist approach to social matters. There were public servants who actually took a pride in their ability to deliver a service. Business models have destroyed that and we have insufficent experience of small time initiatives. These can be assisted and I would approve steps in this direction, but its not coming from Whitehall. Nor is it coming from those on inflated salaries in plush local authority offices.

  • Comment number 45.

    Its meaningless. You can't fool all the people all the time.

  • Comment number 46.

    There seems to be a tremendous amount of wishful thinking going on in government.

    1. It is outrageous to think that £200M and philanthropy will fill any gap in public services, not least because philanthropists will not be as stupid as government in doling out money week in week out to the same idle cases who have become reliant on the nanny state.

    2. The private sector will not be able to take on more people unless the government have a long term industrial policy which reduces the burden of bureaucracy and cost on them. I don't see much government activity in this area, maybe because like all other political parties, none of them have worked in private industry and haven't got a clue where to start.

    Secondly, most private sector employers would avoid ex public sector workers simply because they are institutionally unproductive.

  • Comment number 47.

    "Big Society Bank: will it work"? is the HYS question.

    Apparently, the funding for Big Society Bank will be funded by 'dormant' bank accounts? Something that Gordon Brown proposed for small numbers of shares to be donated to charity and unclaimed bank account funds from the dead where relatives cannot be traced?

    So the Big Society Bank will be funded by the dead; with no known relatives, or people with bank accounts without Wills at death that banks hold and use for their own investments 24/7?

    This approach seems useful - so the Big Society Bank will be funded by the above - the Big Society Bank of unclaimed death bank accounts?

  • Comment number 48.

    the big society the big society bank the big con,wake up Britain please its great to have charitys run by the many well meaning people in our society ,but to replace Goverment or state help no ,we cannot go back to victorian times, in a modern britain ,goverments must take the responsibility for the welfare of its citizens ,this is why we pay income tax,vat,nat insurance stamp ,are all these taxes to be abolished ,its damn crazy, a big smokescreen put forward by millionaires ,so those down below ,can fend for themselves,if they have enough money coming in to do so ,I bet theres not many if any low income workers if any calling for these changes ,the whole big society. all in this together, talk makes my blood boil ,I have allways held moderate views ,but with this lot I feel Im getting militant ,

  • Comment number 49.

    So let me see if i`ve got this right. Cameron`s going to take all monies in dormant bank accounts, transfer that money to this BSB then loan that money out to fund social enterprises? If that`s the case then i really do despair for this country. In effect Cameron`s using our own money to finance social enterprises that should be supported by the government but won`t be because of the cuts. Not only that but we have to now volunteer for free while this BSB makes money on loans from monies stolen from dormant banks. Sounds like a script out of "Yes minister". Will these bankers also make six figure bonuses? As i say, i really despair where this country is going.

  • Comment number 50.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 51.

    4. At 11:39am on 14 Feb 2011, SpacedOne wrote:

    I've just been into the Halifax and reclaimed the £11 I had in my old childhood bank account I've not accessed in 17 years. Cameron can use this BS as a sticking plaster over the gaping wound his cuts agenda will leave but I'll be damned if I pay anything towards helping him do it.


    Neat idea that. My lad has £50 in a PO savings account, which is his by rights, but was set up over a decade ago, and we'd just ignored it. Got the paperwork so he can stick it in his ISA account instead!

    Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Mr Cameron.

  • Comment number 52.

    This is the same woolley thinking and talking that cost the Conservatives an overall majority at the last General Election.

  • Comment number 53.

    Who decides what a "Dormant Account" is? What defines it? Is it timescale - not accessed in 20 years? Or is it 6 months? What right in law does a government have to take this money? I would have thought there should be some form of clearing system, what does a bank have to do to attempt to trace the owners of such accounts or their families? All sounds rather dodgy to me.

  • Comment number 54.

    The cons just keep on coming, don't they?
    Mr Cameron: I don't want you, I don't want your party, I don't want your political system. I want electoral reform, and I want it now!!
    Surely, if enough of us tell this character that his tinkering with a broken system will achieve nothing except the predictable "rich getting richer, poor getting poorer" scenario, even a hide as thick as his will realise how we feel about all this tripe?

  • Comment number 55.

    I wish this toff would crawl back into his hole and stay there. The majority of people don't seem ready to swallow his "Big Society" pipedream and it's time DC and his cronies took note of public opinion!

  • Comment number 56.

    The 'Big' Bank Society
    The 'Big' Society
    'Big' cuts
    Makes alot of 'Big' statements does Mr Cammeron.

    No support here for a 'Big ' load of rubbish.
    Do somethng about the current banks before you start up another load of trouble thanks.

  • Comment number 57.

    Re post at 6:- Well said!!!

  • Comment number 58.

    £200m won't go very far. And it's a one off, money from down the back of the sofa in effect. Foolish waste to set up a special 'bank'. Just use it as a special fund with no expensive infrastructure. Sound Brownian to me.

  • Comment number 59.

    Camerons big society is about one thing.

    The fact that EVERY taxpayer in UK is going to pay MORE, while what they receive is being CUT and its about replacing those cuts with volunteers because there is NO MONEY to pay for so much of our present social systems.

    The reason for this is because due to the banks, UK tax/VAT etc receipts have been DECIMATED which is ON TOP of national debt grown to bail out the banks, its NOT just a situation created by Labour, the MAIN problem is the decimation of government income, including £BILLIONS lost from collapse in house sales and car manufacturing and every other business that has experienced a drop in production/sales.

    Lets not forget that the energy price rises over past few years have also had horrendous effects on peoples incomes, petrol/heating etc, but ALSO on costs of schools, hospitals, and all government /council buildings and systems, vehicles etc which have also ADDED endemic non-sustainability problems.

    Me personally, I would nationalise ALL UK energy production as I think energy is the long term key to any prosperity but which is presently controlled by overseas companys, with UK consumers paying for investments via energy prices but receiving NO REAL benefits and with HUGE profits being diverted out of the UK.

    We are going to be forced to pay for wind farms and nuclear energy investments, hence as well as profits on energy, those businesses who have provided the finance will also gain a substantial profit from that investment.

    My point is, if we as a country invested, then we could HUGELY increase our benefits, including substantially lower energy costs for businesses.

    Tesco & other major retailers have LOSS LEADERS, even if we took a minor loss on energy production ( which is NOT needed)the WEALTH that could/would be created by more attractive energy prices would be so beneficial/advantageous to our economy, especially while other countrys economys pay for increasing world prices.

    If I was to build a wind turbine in my garden, once I have made that investment, I would NOT then charge myself for my electricity production, there would be minor maintenance costs and even setting some SAVED money aside for replacment of wind turbine in 20/30 years.

    Likewise we could do the same with national energy, why would we charge ourselves for something which we have invested in and paid for. We would ONLY need to charge minimal maintenance costs and a comparatively low sum for future replacment, of which if the wind turbine structures are built with longevity in mind then the whole structure need not be replaced but part of, thus extending the life of it and reducing overal costs.

    It would help though, if WE manufactured wind turbines in UK, but we do not.
    Our ONLY wind turbine plant closed, or put into mothballs, though there are plans to open new ones, BUT the REALITY is that these UK plants are JUST assembly lines, they are NOT manufacturing plants, hence STILL, the VAST majority of money spent on our wind turbines actually goes ABROAD.

    Our investment into wind turbines is at present, planned to be around £200 BILLION over many years, yet so MUCH of this VITAL important infrastructure expenditure, which WILL ultimately be paid for by UK consumers, is just being BLED ABROAD into foreign coffers which sustain their nations and factually ADD to UNSUSTAINABILITY of UK economy and social systems.

    Camerons big society is all hot air, the substance, even paltry £200 million bank thingy and £100 million help fund is not as substantial or of worth as cuckoos spit. Its something, but its basically CRUMBS.

  • Comment number 60.

    I think the big society is a big con, why doesn't Cameron/Clegg stop being so devious stop trying to dismantle the welfare state that the conservates never approved of,make the people that caused this depression the Bankers pay, instead of the bankers issuing themselves bonus pay the taxpayer back. I would like to know in this Big Society that is being proposed are we the Council Tax Payers and the Payee payers going to get rebates after all we are not paying for professionals to do these jobs so therefore why should Joe Public have to pay for them. Oh I know why this is being done to save money no other reason. Didn't Maggie Thatcher state that there was no Society when she was busy dismantling the communities in the Steel Mine and fishing villages but only Family this is just another Tory Con.

  • Comment number 61.

    Listen Dave - until I'm now 66, I have to work for a living. I won't have time to run libraries etc. Even after I'm 66, I'll have to work for living - unless the big society is going pay me a decent pension. If I'm not working until I'm 66, I'll be unemployed. In which case the benefits rules mean that if I'm doing voluntary work, I'm not looking for real work, and my benefit will be stopped. If you change these rules, then yes I can help run a library or something.

    But wait a minute, instead of me running a library, why not keep the damn thing opened and run by a qualified librarian. Then of course the librarian might not have time to act as a voluntary (I don't know what - nurse, carer, debt adviser) anything.

    Are you seeing the same crazy results as me? Implementation of spending cuts that mean everything is run by rank amateurs - while people actually qualified to do the job are unemployed?

    Who voted for this mess?

  • Comment number 62.

    Sounds like the shop keeping games we used to play at primary school. Dave and George have read a book about Noddy abd Big Ears and The Big Bank.Dave and George will make everyone in Toytown very happy then go back to Ivory Towers where they live oblivious to what ordinary peopl need, but the have met them all. Once.

  • Comment number 63.

    I think those that want to make a contribution to society by volunteering to run scout troups, helping elderly neighbours and charity fundraising are probably already helping out. Trying to get those that don't undertake such activities presently is going to very difficult. Especially since lots of socialists have a knee jerk reaction of disagreeing with anything a Tory says (and vice versa).

  • Comment number 64.

    I like Dave, I even like the coalition Government mostly, but I'm sick to death of this vague, woolly-minded phrase 'Big Society'.

    What does it mean Dave? Put it in words of one syllable, man, and make it clear to people. You won't be able to take people with you if they don't understand what you're talking about.

    Oh, and just as a side issue, Dave: keep your thieving mitts off people's dormant bank accounts. Just because they have chosen not to touch their money for a number of years it doesn't mean that it's now the Government's money.

    Always remember - if it's not yours you can't have it and if you take it, it's theft.

  • Comment number 65.

    3. At 11:39am on 14 Feb 2011, frankiecrisp wrote:

    Just checked and its not April 1st


    You didn`t get the communique? From now till the next election everyday is now officially April 1st. This is to reduce confusion and reduce the burden on banks interest payment costs.

  • Comment number 66.

    But David, "there's no such thing as Society".

    M. Thatcher

    (Not misquoted, taken directly from the Woman's Own article October 31st 1987.)

  • Comment number 67.

    The Big Society Bank indeed - what a load of tosh!

    The only word missing from the "The Big Society" is the word 'Idiot'.

    Cameron's idea that the middle classes work to pay the banks for what he calls the nation's credit card and now to work for nothing to prop up the collapse of local services, charities, health and education - whilst we seem to have plenty of cash to pay for our senseless wars and £8bn on foreign aid - which includes indirectly supporting nuclear arms development in China and Russia as these countries rather spend money on their war machines rather than social care.

    Cameron and his unpopular government are making slaves out or working men and women and idiots of us all.

    When you mess with the middle classes you are already dead and buried in British politics - I sense regime change won't be long in coming.

  • Comment number 68.

    Big Society will not work until Capitalism is watered-down significantly - my boss earns the equivalent of 50 years of my annual pay. I call that unjust distribution of wealth that propagates a competitive unfair society - the opposite of the Big Society. I pay a lot of tax, and have a large family to look after. I'm tapped-out. Mr Cameron: you're living in cuckoo-land.
    Well patently you don't pay a lot of tax. Even if your boss manages to pay only 10% tax he is paying at least 25 times more than you are (and possibly as much as 100 times more). Possibly you mean that you pay a large proportion of your disposable income in tax. Maybe knowing the differences is why your boss earns more?

    Also, you could have listened in Sex Education, learned the benefit of birth control and applied it to ensure you did not have a large family to look after. Instead you have chosen to have a smaller disposable income (and probably to earn less) by indulging your passion for raising many children, your children will be educated for free (quite rightly) and treated for any illnesses they get (god forbid) at other peoples expense thanks to our profoundly non-capitalist society.

    If you really want to see capitalism in action just try visiting the slum areas of New York or getting cancer treatment there without selling your home.

  • Comment number 69.

    I volunteer when I can and frequently give to charity. I don't have the time nor the money to give any more good will.

    I don't see the point of cutting paid employees who are trained in delivering the service and have the necessary experience, to give £200m to people who don't have any experience and may not know how to deliver said service.

    It's all hogwash. Most of us have no more space to breath, yet people like Cameron, Clegg and Milliband will continue to laugh and jeer in the House of Commons knowing that it won't affect them.

    I'm sick of the Tory vs Labour comments on here. They don't care. The fight here is between rich and poor, regardless of what political side of the fence you sit on. The gap is widening, can we stand up and doing something about it? Egypt puts our apathy to shame.

  • Comment number 70.

    if this money comming from dormant bank accounts dries up and the expected £400m cannot be found, (you know if the relatives of the dead claim their money and we all look up old accounts and claim our money)do you think the Government might just take it directly from our bank accounts any way... ?

  • Comment number 71.

    I've no idea whether it will work or not, but the many negative comments on here before we know either way, is disppointing.

    As for the comments about Tories being out if touch, people would do well to remember we are still banging up the labour crooks who had no problem stealing from the people!

  • Comment number 72.

    £200 million.....

    Remind me - how much did we pay the banks to let them off the hook and pay those bonuses. Indeed, how much have/are they paying out on bonuses this year?

  • Comment number 73.

    how long does a bank account have to be innactive before it becomes *dormant* and is seized by the state? should i keep moving money in and out weekly just in case it gets stolen?

  • Comment number 74.

    Not unless multi- millionaires like Cameron, Osborne will fore go all their salaries, perks, expenses and pension for the country and do their job for the good of the nation and the big society- come on Mr C put your money where you big mouth is

  • Comment number 75.

    4. At 11:39am on 14 Feb 2011, SpacedOne wrote:
    "...I've just been into the Halifax..."
    If we truly want to stick one on the bankrollers of DC's party, and the bonus-takers, we should take any cash we have in PLC banks, such as the above, and put it in mutuals and co-operatives. We should also make damned sure we take our 25% tax-free lump sums out of any pension funds. (one of mine only grew 0.2% over the last 3 years while the hedge-fund managers played about betting with it. I wonder what they won?).

    I suppose at least DC's idea's a bit less trashy than that.

  • Comment number 76.

    Am I the only one confused by this concept??? Surely this is a Nationalised Bank? Anathema to Tory doctrine! I've got an idea. Let's all invest in this new "Peoples' Bank". That will see the high street banks go bust through lack of investment and have to pay off their staff like Local Government has. Of course, the fat cat directors will still claim obscene bonus payments.......
    Cameron needs to come and live in the real world for a change.

  • Comment number 77.

    51. At 12:37pm on 14 Feb 2011, theoldgoat wrote:
    4. At 11:39am on 14 Feb 2011, SpacedOne wrote:

    I've just been into the Halifax and reclaimed the £11 I had in my old childhood bank account I've not accessed in 17 years. Cameron can use this BS as a sticking plaster over the gaping wound his cuts agenda will leave but I'll be damned if I pay anything towards helping him do it.


    Neat idea that. My lad has £50 in a PO savings account, which is his by rights, but was set up over a decade ago, and we'd just ignored it. Got the paperwork so he can stick it in his ISA account instead!

    Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Mr Cameron.

    These posts have restored my faith in the British people. This is exactly what Big Society thinking should be. Take care of our own people, stuff Government schemes.

    Something many here might not be aware of. Back in the days of conscription and Britain was fighting in Aden, Cyprus, and more. We organized in the streets, collected money, raffles, held dances, in order to raise money to pay Big Government to return the bodies of our fallen school mates. We had to look after our own. I don't want those days to return, although I consider the efforts our communities made with a sense of pride.

  • Comment number 78.

    For some reason Cameron has got into into his head his "Big Society" resonates with the UK electorate -- it doesn't. Cameron is making some serious mistakes and his Big Society won't get him out of the mess he is heading for. The electorate will put up with spending and tax cuts and all the hurt that goes with it as long as they are getting some of their wishes in return. This Cameron is failing to do. He is not address immigration, the human rights act that stop us deporting foreign criminals and many others, he is doing nothing about bringing our troops back from Afghanistan. He has to start following public opinion. Public Opinion says that the Big Society is all talk, much the same as the rest Cameron's so called policies. Let's have some action on the things that matter.

  • Comment number 79.

    Charity is great as the icing on the cake. It must not be a cover to cut public employee's jobs. It cannot be a replacement for the role of the state in a civilised society.
    So the deficit is the main issue Cameron claims - really? There is going to be no deficit reduction unless the population is working and paying tax - that is in a fair way, not hitting the poor and squeezing the middle while helping the already super-rich. The deficit is only a cover for the most right wing Tories to do what they really want.

    Big Society is actually a very big con, and an even bigger smoke screen. It is a cover for making the very rich even richer at the expense of everyone else.

    I notice that the YouGov polls show that the Tories are down to 35% and Labour are on 45%, so maybe at last people are waking up to the fact that this con-dem government is a con trick. Come on and do us all a favour! "Mending broken Britain"! Wrecking the lives of ordinary working people and decimating public services is not mending but is destroying Britain for the majority.

    I just wonder how much longer this will go on for before the Lib-Dems start to fall away from their coalition and the Tories do what they do best, which is to stab their leaders in the back and fight amoung themselves. I want another general election!

  • Comment number 80.

    I have just heard David Cameron saying that volunteers should step in to run services that local government could no longer afford.

    OK - sounds good in principle, BUT - what if those services are supplying the needs of the vulnerable and what if there are not enough people able/prepared to volunteer, or the charity running them goes bust? What happens to the vulnerable - are they just left to suffer? Where is the safety net to ensure that the vulnerable aren't victims of some kind of post code lottery as to whether their needs are met or not?

  • Comment number 81.

    The Big Society! Pardon my somewhat sceptical view would you? Aren't we the highest directly and indirectly taxed developed country in the world? Haven't we just bailed out the banks to the tune of 850 billion pounds? Now Cameron thinks we're not really doing enough to help our society! What's he doing for it? Starving it of much needed support! Ruddy cheek, I volunteer/work (don't get paid) for a local CAB on near full time hours (40% cuts now!), I work with Barnardos and Amnesty International, I check on elderly people living close to me on a daily basis. I couldn't afford holidays before the crash and most certainly can't now, I cycle everywhere because I do like it but the main reason is because can't afford to run a car. Could it be that he's attempting to take the credit for what I and countless thousands like mye have been doing and continue to do as second nature? Sadly, I think he is.

    This government of privileged plutocrats make me sick, they probably don't even know how to spell altruism let alone know what it is!

    I despair!!

  • Comment number 82.

    The B.S. is B.S.

  • Comment number 83.

    29. At 12:17pm on 14 Feb 2011, Dominic wrote:
    Big society means instead of government paying for things, we all have to do it ourselves working for nothing. You first, Davey Boy.


    hammer, nail, head.

  • Comment number 84.

    Don't volunteer - you'll be taking somebody's job.

  • Comment number 85.

    53. At 12:38pm on 14 Feb 2011, Tio Terry wrote:

    Who decides what a "Dormant Account" is? What defines it? Is it timescale - not accessed in 20 years? Or is it 6 months? What right in law does a government have to take this money? I would have thought there should be some form of clearing system, what does a bank have to do to attempt to trace the owners of such accounts or their families? All sounds rather dodgy to me.


    I believe as it stands Government can seize money from dormant bank accounts after 15 years but in general terms it can be anything between 3 and 15 years.

    In banking terms a bank account is dormant if there has been no customer activity within a set time period; usually between three and 15 years. Most banks will write to customers asking if they wish the account to remain active. However, in a number of cases banks will not be able to reach customers due to reasons such as moving home or name changes. Customers can still reclaim money in dormant bank accounts even if the money has been redistributed under the Dormant Bank Account Act.

    That leads me to believe that you can reclaim monies taken from dormant bank accounts even if they have been seized by the government under the act.

  • Comment number 86.


    there is no chance this great society proposals will work.if david cameron honestly thinks the british public will be fooled by telling them,we are cutting public spending,social spending but the all these srevices will be protected by the voluntary sector helping out. mr cameron you are either totally inept or just plain stupid,the burden of duty of care for the least well of is a duty of the public and social care services not people with limited exprience in helping others.the cuts cameron and clegg and osborne have stated will fail and cameron and co will say nothing to do with us blame the voluntary sector for not doing enough.finally if david cameron beieves in the big society just remember they did not vote you and clegg into power,so at least have the guts or gumption and let the big society decide call a general election now.

  • Comment number 87.

    I think what he means is that we are facing a Big Social Re-Order. KNOW YOUR PLACE.
    Work houses and prison ships certainly on the agender, probably already set up with another consortium just like the NHS (It was lovely not being pestered with private health insurance for the last 10 years but notice now how many adverts from the consortium mercenaries of late.).

  • Comment number 88.

    You and your banker friends suckered me once before NEVER AGAIN. If you think I will trust you with money then think again. The same goes for the rest of your corrupt cronies in the Condems AND the Labour party. None of you lying weasels can be trusted

  • Comment number 89.

    The Prime Minister David Cameron has launched the 'Big Society Bank'.
    Why, is he a crypto socialist?

  • Comment number 90.

    I also wonder how you can use "dormant" bank does sound a bit dodgy to me....

  • Comment number 91.

    Isn't expecting people to work for nothing called slavery?

  • Comment number 92.

    "The Big Society" is simply a trendy catchphrase which has never been explained properly - I get the impression that D.C is expecting a cadre of volunteers and local do-gooders to take the heat off of the Government by extolling the virtues of "self-help" that's fine for the "Jam and Jerusalem Brigade", but is not an excuse for him to opt out of his responsibilities and his statement that it is his "mission" sounds rather too evangelical for my taste.
    His latest "Wonder Bank" may or may not be a good thing - it doesn't sound quite as wonderful as he would have us believe - when he gets round to setting up a new RETAIL bank so that Joe Public can pass their judgement on our existing Banking arrangements - then I will believe that the "Big Society" is actually achieving something worthwhile.
    This Government seems to believe that a few catch phrases will put everything right, but we need action not rhetoric.

  • Comment number 93.

    I cannot understand how charities are saying they will be hit hard. I have given my time/car/contents of cupboards freely to the Scout movement for over 20 years. It will make not a jot of difference to me that local government are not giving out funds - as we have never had any.
    Do I take it to mean that some charities and community groups are only their because they are given funds to spend? If so they should be ashamed of themselves. Get out there are do your own fundraising - just as I have.
    There have been so many children who have been kept off the streets by their Scout Group - not by the paid youthworkers of the Council

  • Comment number 94.

    I suggest everyone locates any "dormant" bank accounts they might have and withdraw the money immediately.

    This sounds like theft to fund a redundant idea...

    As Credit Unions already exist.

    Thank me very much.

  • Comment number 95.

    This is the tories at their worst. They are trying to con us into thinking that they are trying to help people.

    The fact is that savage cuts are being made to public services that are affecting the poorest and most vulnerable in society whilst the rich tory supporters (including the bankers) are not being affected at all.

    To make up for these cuts cameron is expecting society to do the work of the public services for free. What is even more outrageous is the fact that it was the tories and thatcher who destroyed this society only 20 years ago.

  • Comment number 96.

    71. At 1:03pm on 14 Feb 2011, chris berridge wrote:

    I've no idea whether it will work or not, but the many negative comments on here before we know either way, is disppointing.

    As for the comments about Tories being out if touch, people would do well to remember we are still banging up the labour crooks who had no problem stealing from the people!

    Quite right, Chris, but that is the point. We have been robbed blind by both parties, and by local councils and the police (more money, less services) and by the banks. We have lost faith in the system but now the system wants even more. I wouldn't trust them not to raid accounts that are only a few months dormant. Keep it in cash, seems the only answer.

  • Comment number 97.

    Big Society - Big White Elephant, diffusion of resposibility that HMG, and local councils were elected for, IMHO

  • Comment number 98.

    £200 million?

    Might as well try to stop a burst artery with an elastoplast.

    It's insulting, frankly.

    The silver-spoon-fed hank should pull his head out of his posterior.

  • Comment number 99.

    "Big Society", "Mend Broken Britain"

    I used to love the novels of PG Woodhouse, but since this government took over and Boris became mayer of London I realised that the characters in the novels are not at all funny when they take flesh in real life, and even worse if they get into public office.

    Am I the only one here, but wouldn't a snap general election be a good thing - before anymore damage is caused by Bertie Wooster, Psmith (Smith with the silent P), Think Nottle and all of the other idiots at The Drones Club. If we can't put them out of the real world and back into fiction, then we could at least remove them from public office.

  • Comment number 100.

    The 'Big Society' was thought up on that sneaky fag packet when DC was out campaigning during the election. He needed a slogan and got one! However, he and nobody else knows what it stands for … and they still don’t. The Tories have one thing on their mind CUTS.

    You make the local council worker who empties the park bin redundant, then give a little cash to a local charity to employ him/her to volunteer to empty the same park bin. However, the state ain't paying (sort of)!


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