Minister admits big society will be 'chaotic'

Francis Maude tells Conservative Party conference that he can't plan for how the big society will turn out

Francis Maude
Francis Maude

The big society will be "chaotic and disorderly", according to Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude.

Asked about the government's big society agenda at a fringe event, Finding the Big Society in a Deprived Community, at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, Maude said: "No one ordains what will happen in a capitalist economy. The same should happen in the big society.

"If I had a plan, it would be the wrong plan. The big society will look a bit chaotic and disorderly."

Asked by an audience member whether the principles underpinning capitalism should apply to the provision of public services, he said: "We won't just do nothing if 100 flowers don't bloom in 100 places. The 100 flowers will bloom, but we'll have to do some gardening and sow some seeds. It won't be universal."

Maude said "postcode variation" in public service provision had existed for a long time and would continue to exist. But he said he hoped the voluntary sector could fill in more of the gaps in public service provision than it currently did.

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