On 20th November 2017 the Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, received a written answer to a question on whether the Commonwealth Summit would fund a proposal on freedom of religion or belief for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 2018:
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many funding proposals on freedom of religion or belief have been received by the Cabinet Office’s Commonwealth Summit Unit’s Kickstart programme; how many of those proposals were successful; and what was the value of the successful proposals.
Lord Young of Cookham: The Kickstart Fund is designed to support preparatory work ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting next April. The Commonwealth Summit Unit received one bid on Freedom of Religion and Belief which was not successful.
The Unit is currently considering programmes for the UK’s Commonwealth Chair-in-Office period, the two years following the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in April 2018. While funding through the Kickstart Fund for a programme of events on Freedom of Religion and Belief has not been specifically allocated ahead of the summit, agreement has been reached that the Government will support the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association in hosting a forum. This will bring parliamentarians from around the Commonwealth together for important discussions across the key challenges facing the Commonwealth, including upholding the Commonwealth Charter. The Commonwealth Summit Unit has also provided £20,000 to the Royal Commonwealth Society to support its interfaith service, which will take place in Westminster Abbey on Commonwealth Day in March 2018.
The Government remains firmly committed to the promotion and protection of Freedom of Religion or Belief in all countries. The Prime Minister has announced the four themes for the summit: prosperity, security, sustainability and fairness. The summit will encourage all Commonwealth members to uphold the values set out in the Commonwealth Charter, including religious freedom.