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Posted By Bubb’s blog
On 18 April 2012 - 9:14am

A miserable day in London. Wet and windy. Sums up beautifully the mood in the third sector as we survey the wreck of the "Big Society" idea. What have we been offered so far? Actually nothing. In fact worse than that, we have had Government ministers traducing us with talk of dodgy charities, suspicious foreigners and naughty philanthropists.

The big announcement to the press this week? We are told there will be a consultation. When the Budget was announced it was stated that the proposals would be subject to consultation. So what are we now offered? The same: "consultation", despite the compelling evidence we offered that this announcement was already inhibiting giving.

And this will be an HMT summer one (would I be cynical to think this may even take place during the Olympics?). We know what this means. The technical term is " kicking into long grass"; a practice the Treasury have refined over decades.

I've been to one of these famed consultations. Over gift aid; I ended up walking out when it became so clear the main purpose of Treasury officials was to shoot down all ideas and pack the working group with people who would always have different ideas. So I would not be surprised when they set up this new consultation to see Polly Toynbee and Martin Narey on the invite list.

But to be clear; if HMT think they can drown opposition in a sultry summer chat then think again. You have roused the wrath of a strong and influential sector. We never forget, even if we might eventually forgive. So surprise me Treasury: treat this seriously and change tack.

Stephen Bubb