Page last updated at 20:47 GMT, Monday, 28 February 2011

Big Society debate part one

By decentralising power to communities, David Cameron's Big Society agenda will improve efficiency and create business confidence, Conservative MP Charlie Elphicke has argued.

Leading a backbench debate on the subject on 28 February 2011, Mr Elphicke called for community groups to be given a greater chance of winning contracts to run public services.

Mr Elphicke said the bid by a community trust to run the major port in his Dover constituency "can be a landmark for the Big Society" but smaller ventures and acts of volunteering were all part of the agenda.

He said: "Allow greater decentralisation, allow communities a greater sense of confidence, allow them to take charge of their direction and they will develop.

"That has economic benefits because... the more confidence you have, the more energy you have in a community, the more buzz there is, the more that has economic effects."

But Labour's Paul Flynn was scathing about the concept. He said: "I think about the cones hotline, the Third Way, Back to Basics and now the Big Society.

"I think there will be a degree of cynicism now when the cuts are taking place in all directions."

Watch part two of the debate here.

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