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What happened to The Big Society?

Guy Rigby Friday, 06 July 2012.

What happened to The Big Society?

We don't seem to hear much about the Big Society these days. Building an environment that takes power away from politicians and gives it to the people must be good. It's included in the coalition agreement, so hopefully it isn't just a fad.

Talking about coalitions, we've come to understand the challenges of governing in a cooperative environment, where differing ideologies cause disagreements and distractions, leaving the biggest party with responsibility, but without any real authority. We put them there, so we only have ourselves to blame. And if we think our two-party coalition is a problem, think about Europe, where seventeen members of the European Union share a malfunctioning currency union without any visible means of resolution. It'll take a decade to sort it out.

Luckily, businesses don't suffer from the same paralysis as government. It just can't happen. They have to fight for their survival, with the 50% or so who generate the nation's wealth having to pay for themselves as well as the other 50%, even though their rewards, in general, are lower.

So let's not talk about House of Lords reform, or get distracted by ideology. We need clear thinking and, in case our politicians are listening, here are five recommendations to get the UK back on track:

• Education. Bring back literacy, competitiveness and the winning culture. Teach and encourage entrepreneurship. Tell our children that 'if it's to be, it's up to me'.

• Infrastructure. Be bold and enabling for the long term. Fix our overcrowded roads, underfunded public transport and embarrassing international hubs.

• Banking. Work with the banks to make them stable, solvent and, above all, suitable for our nation's future needs.

• Regulation. Encourage wealth creation and risk taking by simplifying and reducing taxation and the burden of business related legislation.

• Public spending. Abandon the nanny state. Look after the needy, the old and the disabled and develop policies that mean the rest must look after themselves.

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Guy Rigby

Guy Rigby

Guy is an experienced chartered accountant and an entrepreneur. A natural and driven enthusiast, he built and sold his own accountancy firm, as well as pursuing other commercial interests. He has been a director and part owner of a number of different companies, including businesses in the IT, property, defence, manufacturing and retail sectors.

Guy joined Smith & Williamson in 2008 and leads the entrepreneurial services group. His day to day activities include advising entrepreneurs and their businesses and coordinating Smith & Williamson's activities in this increasingly important market.

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