Labour's shadow cabinet office minister has attacked the government's Big Society initiative, claiming its objectives are "huge funding and job cuts" across the third sector.
Speaking at questions on 8 February 2012, Gareth Thomas questioned the influence of his opponents on the front bench, branding the cabinet office as "merely the place where the emperor's new clothes get spun".
But Cabinet Office Minister Oliver Letwin defended the coalition's policy.
He replied: "Unfortunately what he fails to reckon with, is that not only this government, but any government who was currently trying to run the United Kingdom would be faced with the need to clear up the fiscal mess which he and his colleagues left this country in and that certainly entails cuts.
Mr Letwin told MPs that while the voluntary sector would suffer "some reduction in funding", the government was determined to "create vast new opportunities" for the sector.
This would help it "compete to provide public services effectively" for taxpayers, he concluded.