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RNLI chief hits out over Big Society
THE head of the Poole-based RNLI has slammed David Cameron’s Big Society for contributing little to the voluntary sector.
Paul Boissier, chief executive of the charity that saves lives at sea, also likened the recent VAT increase to 20 per cent to a government raid on public donations.
The man who runs one of Britain’s biggest charities, which had an income of £163.5 million in 2010, said the public was already engaged with its communities and called on the government to help by reigning back on taxation.
“If I understand the Big Society, it is about engaging members of the public to get involved in their communities,” he said.
“Well the public has been doing that for a long time.
“Of course, we and other charities would say more volunteers are very welcome, but to be honest we don’t need the assistance of politicians to do that.”
He said: “The people who are motivated to do it are doing it already and I’m not sure what the value added has been in making it part of political debate.”
A former Royal Navy submariner and captain of an anti-submarine frigate, who managed the three naval dockyards and ending up as chief operating officer, he has been in charge at the RNLI for two years.
“The people who give money to charities want to see it go to good works, not into the government coffers,” he said.
“We do our best here to serve the public, not to help the government finances out.”
The charity relies on more than 40,000 volunteers including lifeboat crews and last year had the second highest number of launches in its history, saving 309 lives.