10 June 2008
PASC TO DISCUSS PUBLIC BENEFIT OF RELIGIOUS CHARITIES
The Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) this week launches a short inquiry into the impact of the requirement in the Charities Act for all charities to prove their “public benefit” to retain charitable status and the financial benefits that go with it. In the week that the Church of England has released a report saying that Government shows a “significant lack of understanding of, or interest in, the Church of England's current or potential contribution in the public sphere”, the first session will consider the public benefit of charities advancing religion.
Witnesses will be:
- Don Horrocks, Evangelical Alliance
- Andrea Williams, Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship
- Jon Benjamin, Board of Deputies of British Jews
- David Pollock, British Humanist Association
- Stephen Slack, Archbishops' Council and the General Synod of the Church England
PASC will look at how religious organisations can show they provide a public benefit, and justify the public subsidies they receive as charities. The Committee will also explore the public benefit in proselytising (attempting to convert people to a particular religion). The British Humanist Association have argued in the past that it should be much tougher for religious organisations to prove that their work is charitable, while evangelical organisations have expressed worries that religious organisations will be penalised by the new public benefit test.
The evidence session will take place on
Thursday 12 June at 10.00 am in the
Thatcher Room, Portcullis House.
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Committee Membership: Tony Wright (Chairman) (Lab) (Cannock Chase), Mr David Burrowes (Con) (Enfield, Southgate), Paul Flynn (Lab) (Newport West), David Heyes (Lab) (Ashton under Lyne), Kelvin Hopkins (Lab) (Luton North), Mr Ian Liddell-Grainger (Con) (Bridgewater), Julie Morgan (Lab) (Cardiff North), Mr Gordon Prentice (Lab) (Pendle), Paul Rowen (Lib Dem) (Rochdale), Charles Walker (Con) (Broxbourne), Jenny Willott (Lib Dem) (Cardiff Central)
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