By Andrew Holt

Joe Irvin, NAVCA’s chief executive, has challenged the Labour Party to provide a viable alternative to the Big Society.

Joe Irvin made the challenge during a fringe meeting jointly hosted by NAVCA and the think-tank ResPublica at the Labour Party Conference in Manchester.

Irvin said: “Labour in Government had a good relationship with voluntary groups. When the Conservative Party came up with the Big Society it put Labour on the back foot. The task for Labour is to work out how it will respond to this.

"Labour has yet to come up with a viable alternative but it has to come up with policies that appreciate and the value of what communities bring and nurtures voluntary action.

“Ed Miliband’s thinking on pre-distribution, achieving greater equality before tax and benefits, could be the way back in for Labour. Voluntary organisations are a vital part of this thinking because it tackles inequality through early intervention and helps people to come together to challenge powerful economic interests.”

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Sector agrees with critical PASC report on Big Society
Sector groups are in broad agreement with the Public Administration Select Committee report published today, which suggests the Prime Minister's Big Society vision is doomed to failure unless a dedicated minister is appointed to help end confusion and get smaller charities involved. The Committee report said the Government had failed to explain the project properly or remove serious barriers to its success.

Cuts will break Big Society, warns think-tank
The Government wants the Big Society to pick up the pieces left by its public spending cuts, but the scale and speed of the cuts leave civil society with an impossible job to do and not nearly enough support, claims think-tank nef (the new economics foundation). The result will be a poorer, more hard-pressed society, not a bigger one. The report: Cutting It: The Big Society and the new austerity, published today at the RSA, provides the first analysis of the prospects for the Big Society in the context of the comprehensive spending review.

Big Society speech fails to win over sector
Sector organisations have not been won over by David Cameron's Big Society relaunch today, with the consensus being the government is not doing enough to support the sector. Sir Stuart Etherington, NCVO chief executive, noted his organisation supported the idea of the Big Society, but, he warned the Government needs to take swift action now to ensure that voluntary organisations survive to deliver it.

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