Revolutionising the way we give and help

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A WHILE back I mentioned in my Footnote that in the first ten months of this Government, departments saved a total of £3.75bn through centrally led in-house cuts.

And how does this affect the man in the street you might ask, and what happens to the money saved anyway?

Surely with Christmas just around the corner we want to forget about efficiency programmes and hear a bit more about gestures of generosity and goodwill in keeping with the season.

Here’s some good news.

Thanks to the progress made in reducing administration costs and expensive overheads like advertising campaigns, this Christmas we are pledging cash to innovative charity appeals so that we can help support the vulnerable over the festive period.

Yes, on December 11 my deputy, the Minister for Civil Society Nick Hurd, announced that he has pledged £1m from efficiency savings to support innovative charity appeals this Christmas.

So what does this mean exactly?

Well when we published the Giving White Paper in May we threw open the doors to more imaginative ways of supporting charities.

And you may have seen ITV’s Text Santa Campaign last week when the Prime Minister David Cameron pledged that if the public donate £250,000 the Government will match it with a further £250,000.

That’s the sort of lateral thinking we had in mind.

Or take the StreetSmart project launched so that restaurants can offer customers the chance to support local charities that help homeless people simply by adding £1 to their bill – with the Government matching the total up to £220,000.

Another project, www.localgiving.com - set up by ‘Secret Millionaire’ Marcel Speller - allows the public to find out about and make donations to small charities in their local community.

Again, £500,000 has been pledged by the Government to match the funding raised by the public.

The idea is to make it both easier and more compelling for people to give.

This is a way of allowing people to go about their daily life and do something for their neighbour, without doing a whole lot extra.

Hopefully initiatives such as these will revolutionise the way we give and help to redistribute more money to those who need it, a process beneficial both to those who give and those who receive, in the best traditions of The Big Society as it has been known from time immemorial.

FRANCIS MAUDE

MP for Horsham