Blears wants big role

Former communities secretary seeks election to chair the Social Action Forum, Labour's new policy group on the big society agenda

Former minister Hazel Blears
Former minister Hazel Blears

Hazel Blears, Labour MP for Salford and former Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, will tomorrow stand for election as chair of a new policy group formed by the Labour Party to put together its response to the government’s big society agenda.

Blears says she is confident she will be able to make an important contribution to the group, which is provisionally called the Social Action Forum. The group’s terms of reference, which include looking at the role of charities, social enterprises and mutuals and cooperatives, are "Labour territory", she says.

She says community asset transfer, social impact bonds and social investment were all Labour ideas, which she included in a 2008 white paper called Real People, Real Power.

The policy group will focus on the impact of the coalition government’s policies on the front line.

"We want to collect the real-life experiences of what’s going on in communities," Blears says.

In order to do this, Blears says, the group - which will comprise any interested Labour MPs - will invite some representatives of the voluntary sector to its meetings and will set up a website on which more people can share their views.

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