Nick Hurd indicates government has abandoned pledge for annual big society day

Speaking to BBC Radio 4, the Minister for Civil Society declines to elaborate but says it's 'more important to get behind things like the National Citizen Service'

Nick Hurd
Nick Hurd

Nick Hurd, the Minister for Civil Society, has appeared to indicate that the government has dropped plans to run an annual big society day, as promised by the coalition government in 2010.

Building the Big Society, published by the coalition in May 2010, outlined its plans to give more power to communities and support voluntary action, and included a pledge to set up the National Citizen Service and launch a national "big society day".

But asked yesterday on BBC Radio 4’s World at One programme if the government had dropped plans to introduce a big society day, Hurd appeared to suggest that the idea had been shelved.

"The reality is that many people have chucked stones at the big society," he said. "We’ve just got on and delivered what we said we would deliver, not least through programmes for young people like the National Citizen Service, which is massively popular, and we’re seeing more and more evidence of communities getting involved in shaping and running services. So actually a lot of very positive things are happening."

Hurd said that "arguably, every day is a big society day". He said there were a lot of different days in the calendar, such as last week’s Sport Relief, when the country came together to give and to support each other.

Pushed by the presenter, Martha Kearney, over whether it was dropped because it was "a bit embarrassing", Hurd said he did not think it was embarrassing.

"If you’re going to ask me what’s more important, the big society day or investing significantly in something like the National Citizen Service, I would tell you that it’s much more important to get behind things like National Citizen Service," he said.

A Cabinet Office spokeswoman declined to comment further.

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