Decentralisation Minister Greg Clark appeared on the BBC Politics Show yesterday (20 June 2010) to talk about the Big Society and his new role in government to pull power away from Whitehall and hand it back to local people.
Mr Clark showed the programme around his own constituency introducing them to some of the best examples of community engagement in Tunbridge Wells.
At the resident-owned TN2 community centre, the minister explained how it was built with the input of local people at every stage, from choosing the services provided to having a say on the design itself.
And at the Pickering cancer drop-in centre Mr Clark explained how a “great idea” had become a vital part of local cancer care, as local people saw the need for the support service and took the initiative to set it up themselves. The minister wants more people to take action and to put support in place to help people “kick things off in their communities”.
Greg Clark said:
When you give people the opportunity to get on and do the things that they have a passion about and let them make use of their knowledge of the community they can work wonders.
Decentralisation is about giving power back to local people so that they can come together to shape their communities in the way that they want. I want it to be easier for people who have a great idea to be able to get on and do it.
If you can get the money away from the bureaucrats in the centre who tell people how it should be spent, and transfer it so that people can come together and say how they’d like to spend it, more of a difference can be made.