07 August 2007

Real Respect

Broken window: David Cameron unveils the Real Respect agendaFour weeks ago in Breakthrough Britain, the Social Justice Policy Group called for greater third sector delivery of public services. Today, the Conservatives' Social Enterprise Zones Task Force reinforces this call for charities and other non-governmental organisations to play a bigger role in boosting deprived neighbourhoods and communities.

Emulating the economic "enterprise zones" set up in the 1980s by Margaret Thatcher to create jobs, wealth and opportunity, local authorities would be able to designate deprived areas as "social enterprise zones" in which social entrepreneurs would receive tax breaks to fight poverty. A Community Bank could also be created to channel funds and allocate tax relief where it might have the best effect. In addition, a new National School Leaver Programme would offer every young person the chance to participate in community activity at home or abroad after leaving school.

The Community Development Exchange: Community self-helpIf we really want to promote community regeneration and attract investment in disadvantaged communities — if we are to have any hope of getting to grips with the sub-culture of drugs, knives and guns in places such as Hulme, the site of Manchester's latest shooting, less than a mile from where Jessie James was shot in Moss Side last September — then these "Real Respect" proposals are precisely the kind of localised, "bottom-up" solutions that government should be facilitating and supporting. As David Cameron notes in today's Guardian, these are social problems that require social as well as statutory solutions and it is a serious failing that, at present, the government typically works with large, national charities rather than smaller, locally based voluntary organisations, which are more often than not the ones most effective at combating entrenched deprivation.

The choice at the next election, whenever it comes, is clear: another four to five years of the present Government, that thinks the state knows how to run our lives better than we do, or a Party that will actually trust the people.


MDC said...

5 years of Brown's "the state knows best"... 5 years of Cameron's "the state knows best"... what's the difference?