by Tamara Rajakariar, MercatorNet
by Tamara Rajakariar, MercatorNet
August 10th, 2013 Jill Posted in Charity Comments Off
by Charles Moore, Telegraph
Does it matter that the chief executive of Save the Children earns more (£163,000 last year) than the Prime Minister (£143,500)? Should we worry that, as this newspaper revealed this week, at least 38 charity bosses are now earning more than £100,000 a year?
The answer is not obvious. Large charities need professional competence and charismatic leadership. Such things must, within reason, be paid for. On the other hand, charities are funded by people giving money to help other people who need it more. If a class of charito-crats, richer and more powerful than their ordinary donors, has come into being, that is wrong.
[...] In the Blair/Brown era, such managerialists conquered charity’s commanding heights. Several, like Justin Forsyth, who earns the big money from Save the Children (see above), actually worked for Mr Blair and Mr Brown. With the Charities Act of 2006, the nature of charity, which had been widely agreed in British culture for centuries, was redefined. The “four heads” of charitable purpose – religion, education, the relief of poverty and other purposes beneficial to the community – were superseded by 13 much more politicised categories. The notorious clause 3.2 of the Bill (“critically flawed”, says the Commons public administration select committee) told the Charity Commission to define “public benefit” in the secret hope that independent schools would be forced to lose their charitable status. (Luckily, it was too badly drafted to succeed.) The commission was weakened as a regulator. Hence the cases of fraud, tax evasion and camouflaged Islamist extremism that are now coming to light.
At the same time, charities were increasingly used as off-the-books agencies of government, and some (“sock-puppet” charities) were created solely for that purpose. Instead of facing the public, and raising money from them, such charities depended on government largesse – hence the endless networking. More charities were included in the ambit of official power.
April 25th, 2013 Jill Posted in Charity Comments Off
From Christian Today
The former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams is to take up a new social justice role next month as chair of Christian Aid's Board of Trustees.
Dr Williams stepped down as Archbishop of Canterbury at the end of last year to become Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge.
He said he had become more aware of the priority of development and aid issues around the world during his 10 years as Archbishop.
Dr Williams takes up his position as Christian Aid chair on 1 May in time for the start of this year's Christian Aid Week, which kicks off on 12 May.
He said he was "delighted" to be a part of the development agency's work.
By Hilary White, LifeSite News
A leading pro-life group has asked the UK’s Catholic Education Service (CES) not to contribute to a charitable campaign that has donated millions of pounds to leading pro-abortion groups, including the International Planned Parenthood Federation.
John Smeaton, director of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), has again asked CES and the Catholic bishops of England and Wales to suspend participation in the annual Comic Relief charitable drives.
“It is simply unethical for anyone – let alone Catholic schools – to raise money for Comic Relief, that massive bankroller of the culture of death,” he said.
The Comic Relief telethons were founded in 1985 to help with the effort to relieve the Ethiopian famine. Since then they have raised over £750 million. Two popular campaigns sponsored by Comic Relief, Red Nose Day and Sport Relief, say they aim to “bring about positive and lasting change in the lives of poor and disadvantaged people, which we believe requires investing in work that addresses people's immediate needs as well as tackling the root causes of poverty and injustice.”
But critics have said that the charitable work of the events includes donating large sums of money to hard left groups to promote “reproductive choice.”
In a recent letter from Comic Relief to CES, posted by Smeaton on his blog, Comic Relief explains that, after concerns had been raised, they had “opened up a dialogue” with the Catholic bishops in 2000 “to help communicate the facts.” The result, says Comic Relief, was that the “Bishops’ Conference and the Department of International Affairs confirmed that they were confident that Catholics may continue to support Comic Relief’s fundraising initiatives in good faith.”
By The Revd Canon Chris Sugden, AAC
When charities and charity laws were first established in England in 1601, it was held that any religion is better than no religion, and was therefore of benefit to society. "The advancement of religion" was a legitimate charitable purpose. The religion at that time was of course "Church of England".
Since then, the situation has changed. Some violence and terror are sanctioned by some religious groups. So, is religion in and of itself a public benefit?
In 2006, the current leader of the Labour Party, Ed Milliband, when Labour was in power, brought in an act that introduced the concept of "Public Benefit" for an organisation to be charitable. This was intended to address independent private schools, many of which were registered charities and received tax benefits. This was designed to increase their activities in providing education for the disadvantaged in some way.
However, according to Peter Bone, MP and an Anglican, this act had an unintended consequence. While Ed Milliband said the change would not affect existing churches, the concept of "Public benefit" had been left undefined. Therefore, some secular people on the Charity Commission had begun to put their own interpretation on what was meant by public benefit.
It should not be the Government who defines public benefit. We have seen the direction that that might head. For example, Catholic adoption agencies were forced to close unless they conformed to the new equality legislation and were allowed no "reasonable accommodation."
Mr Bone has therefore proposed a bill to return to the presumption that religion is itself a public benefit and sets out three tests: that particular religion should provide an opportunity for prayer; that it should express social work and education and provide money for charitable purposes.
In the course of demonstrating public benefit, the Churches have shown that they provide 23 million hours of voluntary work directed outside the churches per month, for half a million young people outside church related activities or schools, and are the largest voluntary organisation in the country bar none.
From God and Politics UK
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.
February 1st, 2013 Jill Posted in Charity Comments Off
By Gillan Scott, God and Politics in the UK
January 24th, 2013 Jill Posted in Charity Comments Off
By Ed West, Catholic Herald
A leading Catholic lawyer has warned that Catholic charities across Britain are at risk from equality laws after an adoption agency was told it could lose its charitable status.
The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator ruled that St Margaret’s Children and Family Care Society in Glasgow is directly discriminating against gay people by refusing to place children in the care of same-sex couples.
The regulator said that although the charity provides a valuable service, it believed its current practice was unlawful, and gave it three months to change.
The ruling came about after a complaint by the National Secular Society.
Martin Tyson, the Scottish Charity Regulator’s head of registration, said: ‘We acknowledge the valuable service provided by this charity, but the fact is that all charities must comply with the law, including the Equality Act 2010.”
But Neil Addison of the Thomas More Legal Centre said the regulator threatening to remove the agency from the charities’ register was “surprising”.
He said: “There is an exemption in the Equality Act for charities. If what they’re doing is breaking the Equality Act there is a procedure for challenging it, for saying what they’re doing is unlawful.
Read also: Adoption services, sexual orientation, discrimination and Scots charity law by Frank Cranmer, Law & Religion UK
By Ed West, Telegraph
by Peter Saunders, CMF
Do you feel you are just going through the motions this Christmas spending money on unneeded gifts?
Some friends told me recently that they had given each of their children a £50 allowance to buy Christmas gifts for people living in developing countries.
Their kids had grasped the opportunity with both hands, putting careful thought into their purchases, and even adding some of their own savings in an effort to make a real difference in the lives of those they were seeking to help.
The idea of 'buying a goat for Christmas' is not new but it is amazing to see the huge variety of other gifts that are now available on line. And for not much outlay at all.
Read also Ancient Briton's suggestion
December 20th, 2012 Jill Posted in Charity Comments Off
By Rowena Mason, Telegraph
MPs have overwhelmingly voted in favour of treating all churches as charities, after a small Christian group was denied charitable status.
December 19th, 2012 Jill Posted in Charity Comments Off
By Peter Bone MP, Conservative Home
The issue of the state interfering with religion has raised its ugly head once more. It is not the redefinition of marriage or interfering with the ability of the Church of England to run its own affairs. No it is a much more dangerous issue that threatens not just the Christian Church but all recognised religious groups in this country, the dwindling recognition by the state that religious institutions are a public benefit and should be considered charities.
The Charity Commission has recently removed the charitable status of the Preston Down Trust, a member of the Plymouth Brethren, claiming that they are not a public benefit and therefore cannot have charitable status. A religious group that has been classed as a charity for decades, that has raised money for good causes and supported its local communities has had its status removed because the Charity Commission does not see access to worship and the advancement of religion as a public benefit anymore. This is another sign of a growing secular movement against religious groups in this country and another example of the state interfering with the church. The Charity Commission does not and should not have the power to decide what religion is good or bad, its role should be to assist religious groups in fulfilling their charitable roles not condemning them.
November 16th, 2012 Jill Posted in Charity Comments Off
From Christian Concern
MPs have called for an inquiry to be held into the Charity Commission’s treatment of religious organisations after it refused to grant charitable status to a Plymouth Brethren congregation.
The commission ruled last week that the group in Devon could not be registered as a charity because it failed to show that it exists for some form of ‘public benefit’.
The decision was heavily criticised during this week’s Charitable Registration debate at Westminster Hall called by Conservative MP Fiona Bruce and attended by over 40 MPs.
Several called for an inquiry to be held into the Charity Commission, stating that its decision was an obvious case of religious discrimination.
Robert Halfon, Conservative MP for Harlow, commented that the ruling had “put the tax status of hundreds of charities in doubt.”
November 3rd, 2012 Jill Posted in Charity Comments Off
By Roger Scruton, Conservative Home Thinkers' Corner
Charity is not politics but the opposite of politics. It is not an attempt to control people, to create a new political order or to impose an ideological agenda. It is an offer of help, from one body of citizens to another. Recognising this, the English law has defined charity as a sphere of its own, outside the activity of government and exempt from taxation. Educational, medical and philanthropic charities brought our country relatively painlessly into the modern world. It is not the state that made higher education in this country the envy of the world, but the private endowments of Oxford and Cambridge colleges. It is not the state that protected our environment and made it unique for its beauty, but a long string of charitable associations from Ruskin’s League of St George to the National Trust. It was not the state that laid the foundations of the NHS but the Victorian hospitals, the British Medical Association and the work of Florence Nightingale and the Royal College of Nursing.
Charity, in its true understanding, is the work of volunteers. It is a way in which people give to others, and receive in return the gratitude of those they help. It is the stuff of civil society, and without it there is no true intermediary between the citizen and the State. The first act of totalitarian governments is to abolish the charities through which people help themselves, and which are the main obstacle to creating the total dependence of the citizen on the State.
June 2nd, 2012 Jill Posted in Charity Comments Off
From Christian Today
By Ed Thornton, Church Times
A BILL to “reduce the burden on charities” will be introduced in the next year, the Queen announced in a speech to both Houses of Parliament on Wednesday.
Setting out the Government’s legislative agenda for the next year, which “will focus on economic growth, justice, and constitutional reform”, the Queen said: “A Bill will be introduced to reduce burdens on charities, enabling them to claim additional payments on small donations.”
The Small Donations Bill allows charities to claim “top-up payments”, similar to Gift Aid, on donations of £20 or less, up to a total of £5000 a year per charity, without a need for donors to fill in forms (News, 25 March 2011). When the idea was announced by the Chancellor, George Osborne, last year, he said that 100,000 charities would benefit “to the tune of £240 million”. At the time, the Bishop of Exeter, the Rt Revd Michael Langrish, described the change as “very good news for churches”.
The Government has recently been heavily criticised for a proposed cap on tax relief on charitable giving (News, 20 April). A study published on Wednesday by the Charities Aid Foundation, suggested that the cap would result in £500 million of lost donations, leading to the loss of nearly 11,000 jobs in the charity sector.
The Queen also announced that “a Bill will be brought forward to reform the composition of the House of Lords.” The Joint Committee on the Bill — draft legislation that proposes a wholly or largely elected Second Chamber — has proposed that the number of bishops sitting as Lords Spiritual be reduced from the present 26 to 12 (News, 30 March).
By Tim Ross, Telegraph
The Church of England is leading a campaign to stop companies rewarding their executives with 'excessive' pay.
A group of leading charity investors, including the managers of the Church’s £5 billion portfolio of property and investments, said soaring salaries and bonuses demonstrated a “wider malaise” in corporate life.
By Steven M Perry, First Things
As government and other political institutions continue to fail us, people of faith remain the only consistent safety net for those in need. Take, for example, the State of Illinois, which recently passed the Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act. The Act requires state-funded adoption agencies to place adoptive children with same-sex couples when they are available. Pursuant to this law, Catholic Social Services of Southern Illinois will no longer provide adoption services. This is just one example of what is happening throughout the country: Ideology is beginning to trump the common good.
Catholic Social Services lost funding not because they were ineffective, but because the orphans did not fit the State’s definition of underserved. According to the State of Illinois, same-sex couples are the underserved community and deserve higher priority than the orphans. In general, the government has become a force for “change” instead of a partner of charitable organizations. This was not always the case.
Last year it spent more than £28 million on “changing lives through media and communication”. It also produces foreign sex education films, including one staring an Asian beauty queen emerging from a bath and seductively encouraging men to use a condom.
The revelation comes in the wake of the row over the Government’s decision to protect Britain’s overseas aid budget while imposing huge cuts on defence and other public spending.
On Saturday the disclosure was condemned by MPs who questioned why taxpayers’ money was being spent in this way and whether the Trust’s relationship with Whitehall departments, business donors and foreign governments damaged the BBC’s independence.
“You imagine that our foreign aid budget is being spent to save lives by pumping fresh water to a drought-ridden village, not to make soap operas,” said Philip Davies, a Tory member of the Commons culture committee.