Big Society tsar tells council staff to cut hours


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Indy Politics

The Conservatives' Big Society tsar has suggested that councils cut the hours of their staff and ask them to volunteer in the community instead.

Lord Wei of Shoreditch, who last week announced he was to scale back his unpaid hours for the Government because he could no longer afford to work for free, made the comments on his blog. Labour said they proved that Conservative ministers "did not live in the real world".

On the subject of "Local Authorities and Big Society in the Age of Austerity", Lord Wei wrote that "middle and senior staff can be invited" to go to three or four days a week and "get involved in their local community". He wrote: "This would have the additional benefit of bringing in expertise from other worlds and drawing the local public sector and other sectors closer."

Lord Wei was given a Tory peerage last year and a desk in the Cabinet Office as the Big Society tsar, but his appointment has proved controversial.

Last week he cut back on the hours he devotes to the big society project. Yesterday, his blog was seized on by Labour. Tessa Jowell, the shadow Cabinet Office minister, said: "This is just more proof that these Tory Ministers just don't live in the real world."