Cameron to kick-start Big Society cash drive

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Prime Minister David Cameron is attempting to breathe new life into his Big Society initiative – with a fresh drive to encourage more volunteering and charitable giving.

A Government White Paper is setting out plans for more than £40m in additional support for the voluntary sector as it sought to kick-start a new wave of public donations of time and money after years of “flat-lining”.

Ministers will lead by example – committing themselves to undertake a day of voluntary service over the course of the year with a charity or community group of their choice.

In a keynote speech to mark the White Paper, Mr Cameron will declare his commitment to a Big Society – built on strong families, strong communities and strong relationships – which underpins his own personal political philosophy.

“These are the things that make life worth living and it’s about time we had a government and a Prime Minister that understands that,” he is expected to say.

“These are the things I’m most passionate about in public life. This is what is in my heart. It’s what fires me up in the morning.

“The Big Society is not some fluffy add-on to more gritty and more important subjects. This is about as gritty and important as it gets – giving everyone the chance to get on in life and making our country a better place to live.”

Ministers were boosted by the announcement by the LINK cash machine network that its member banks have agreed to enable charitable donations to be made through their machines from next year.

However, Labour said the Big Society had “stalled” and that the latest Government measures would do little to help charities survive the biggest squeeze on living standards in a generations.