By John Bingham, Telegraph
Britain is becoming increasingly reliant on churches and religious groups to meet “crucial” needs once met by the state, a minister will admit today.
Baroness Warsi will defend the right of Christians, Muslims, Jews and others to publicly practise their faith insisting that “people who do God do good”.
Her comments come in a speech in London marking the first anniversary of a landmark visit to the Vatican by a delegation of ministers in which she claimed that British society is under threat from the rising tide of “militant secularisation”.
It comes as new research lays bare the scale of Britain’s growing dependence on religious groups to meet social needs in the midst of recession.
Churches alone are providing almost 100 million hours of unpaid volunteer work on social projects a year, up by more than a third in two years, while donations for such work are up by a fifth, it found.
Lady Warsi, a practising Muslim, will tell a meeting in the Houses of Parliament that faith groups can “reach areas of need that Government cannot”.
Her comments echo a call last month by the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, for churches to step in and do things which the state has “run out of the capacity to do”.
He said the financial crisis could signal the “greatest moment of opportunity since the Second World War” for churches to grow.
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