The Big Society was David Cameron’s big idea - a policy that sought to leverage the resources and talents of charities and not-for-profits to deliver Conservative aspirations for a small state.

While appearing to protect social care provision for the young, the elderly and those with disabilities, it shifted the burden of financing the upkeep of public goods like libraries and museums to the Third Sector. Big Society projects cushioned the impact of prolonged austerity measures which fell hardest on local council budgets.

As local council taxes were capped year after year by successive Conservative governments, council budgets shrank by over 25 per cent. Big budget items like statutory social care and highways services have been cut back as far as legally possible. More and more councils are bankrupt. Those that are still just solvent, like Hampshire, are now looking to take the axe to more public goods that form the fabric of our communities.

Earlier this month Conservative-led Hampshire opened a public consultation on Future Services. The background paper makes very alarming reading. Across the board, grants to care providers and not-for-profit organisations are set to be slashed. Those who stepped in to fill the gaps are to be sacrificed as Conservatives continue to squeeze local government funding even further.

Meanwhile, our present Conservative chancellor has abandoned “levelling-up”, instead talking of further pre-election tax cuts this Spring. If your readers value our local care providers, libraries and museums, household recycling centres, local public transport and public services more than tax giveaways, I urge them to have their say now at:

Anne Weir,

Woodstock Court,