The Big Society Debate: Is it a Panacea for Reducing the Impact of Welfare Cuts in Public Health?

J.H. Halsall, Paresh Wankhade, I.G. Cook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The UK economy is in serious difficulties, notwithstanding some improvements in 2012. Pursuing a strategy of cuts, in order to reduce the deficit that the country faces, further benefit cuts are scheduled by HM Government, including cuts to the National Health Service. The concept of the ‘Big Society’ has been presented in order to alleviate the impact of the current fiscal crisis in public health. The authors explore the development of the concept of ‘Big Society’ and see its roots within 19th Century ideas of voluntarism and philanthropy. Although there is merit in the Big Society’s call for voluntary sector support, beyond the support provided by the State, the authors show that the reality of the Big Society is nonetheless flawed, and suggest that there is a need for mini-scale rather than macro-scale voluntarism and participation in civic society, a ‘Little Society’ rather than a big one.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-175
JournalWorld Journal of Social Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2014


Cite this