Charitable Registration — [Jim Dobbin in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 2:30 pm on 13th November 2012.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Fiona Bruce Fiona Bruce Conservative, Congleton 2:30 pm, 13th November 2012

I will, indeed. The catalogue that the right hon. Gentleman mentions is a booklet entitled “Public Benefit: the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church”, which contains so much that the Plymouth Brethren demonstrate by way of public benefit, that I cannot possibly do it justice in a speech. I shall place a copy in the Library for the record.

The Charity Commission expressed

“concerns about the lack of public access to participation in…Holy Communion.”

Many Christian denominations limit participation in Holy Communion in some way, most notably, I understand, the Roman Catholic church. Other hon. Members may be able to testify to that. Restricting access to Holy Communion should not be a reason for refusing charitable status.

The Charity Commission also commented on the beneficial impact of the Preston Down Trust, saying that it is

“perhaps more limited than other Christian organisations as their adherence limits their engagement with the wider public”.

The point has been well made: that is simply because people do not know about what they have done, because they have not broadcast it, but have modestly gone about their work.

The Charity Commission says that

“the evidence in relation to any beneficial impact on the wider public is perhaps marginal and insufficient to satisfy us as to the benefit of the community.”

I hope that, as a result of the production of the booklet, it reconsiders that view.