Public Administration Select Committee: Press Notice

10 June 2008


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.

For more information about the work of the Committee, visit our website at:  


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)

Media Enquiries: Jessica Bridges-Palmer, 020 7219 0724,

Specific Committee Information: Email: Tel: 020 7219 3284

Committee Website:

  Watch committees and parliamentary debates online: 

Publications / Reports / Reference Material: Copies of all select committee reports are available from the Parliamentary Bookshop (12 Bridge St, Westminster, 020 7219 3890) or the Stationery Office (0845 7023474).  Committee reports, press releases, evidence transcripts, Bills; research papers, a directory of MPs, plus Hansard (from 8am daily) and much more, can be found on