Bishop of St Albans asks Government for reform of Gift Aid rules to help churches and charities struggling financially

On 9th July 2020 Lord Black of Brentwood asked the Government “what assessment they have made of the impact of the restrictions in place to address the COVID-19 pandemic on the financial sustainability of churches and places of worship.”The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, legislation has not kept up with the practice of public giving or developments in technology, especially now, when, as a result of the pandemic, cash carries the risk of infection. Charities, including churches, can currently claim only on cash and contactless gifts—not on online gifts and donations. Will the Government consider allowing online donations to qualify for gift aid, as part of the gift aid small donations scheme? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government for reform of Gift Aid rules to help churches and charities struggling financially”

Bishop of St Albans asks Government about Gift Aid reform to help charities during coronavirus

On 4th May 2020 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received a written answer to a question on gift aid reform for charities during coronavirus:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: HL3217 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have, if any, to increase the amount that charities can claim through Gift Aid to 50p for every £1 donated as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about Gift Aid reform to help charities during coronavirus”

Bishop of St Albans suggests gift aid reform to ease coronavirus burden on charities

In a virtual sitting of the House of Lords on 30th April 2020 a debate was held on a motion from Lord Addington, “that the Virtual Proceedings do consider the fundraising and organisational challenges faced by the charitable and voluntary sector during the COVID-19 pandemic.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, took part in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, at the very time when we need every charity in the country to be mobilised and deployed, many are teetering on a cliff edge. I have been very struck by the range of charities that have sent me briefing notes: St John Ambulance, Barnardo’s, the MS Society, the Motor Neurone Disease Association, Macmillan Cancer Support, the Scouts, Refugee, Cancer Research UK and the Rainbow Trust, to name but a few. I am sure that other Lords have heard from many others.

Over the years, as the Government have, rightly, raised standards in safeguarding, health and safety, and training, charities have had to employ people to meet those requirements. Now, as income from fundraising activities and charity shops, as well as rental income, has dried up, they are furloughing the very staff who are needed to oversee volunteers. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans suggests gift aid reform to ease coronavirus burden on charities”

Bishop of Rochester asks Government about discussions with charities on coronavirus response

On 24th March 2020 Lord Dannatt asked the Government “what plans they have to provide additional support to charities working with people who are self-isolating as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic”. The Bishop of Rochester, Rt Revd James Langstaff, asked a follow up question:

Continue reading “Bishop of Rochester asks Government about discussions with charities on coronavirus response”

Bishop of St Albans calls for transparency on amount from lottery tickets going to charity

St Albans 2On 18th July 2019 Lord Addington (Lib Dem) asked the Government “what plans they have to ensure that lottery providers who operate on a national basis, other than the National Lottery, spend a minimum of 25 per cent of their profits on the funding of good causes, which are currently funded by the National Lottery”The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, research shows that not all lotteries that operate on a national scale make it clear that they are neither charities nor not-for-profit organisations. People often do not realise that. Does the Minister agree that making it mandatory to declare on each ticket the minimum percentage of each pound spent on charity, for both draw-based and instant-win games, would ensure that users really understand just where their money is going?

Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans calls for transparency on amount from lottery tickets going to charity”

Bishop of Durham asks Government about community organisations access to new shared prosperity fund

On 4th February 2019 Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town asked the Government “what progress it has made on the design and implementation of the proposed UK Shared Prosperity Fund in the light of reports that the Prime Minister is considering providing additional funds to former steel and mining communities and industrial towns.”  Responding to the news that the Government would launch the consultation on the single prosperity fund shortly, the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, will the Minister confirm that in the consultation, local community organisations will be assured that they can access the new fund so that local issues really do rise to the surface in use of the funding? Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks Government about community organisations access to new shared prosperity fund”

Church Commissioners Written Answer – charitable donations

On 27th November 2018 the Second Church Estates Commissioner answered a written question about charitable donations:

Deidre Brock (Edinburgh North and Leith): To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, what assessment the Church Commissioners have made of trends in the level of demand for charitable donations since 2010. Continue reading “Church Commissioners Written Answer – charitable donations”

Bishop of Durham highlights work of faith-based charities and role of volunteers

On Tuesday 16th January 2018 the House of Lords debated a motion from Baroness Pitkeathley “That this House takes note of the Report from the Select Committee on Charities Stronger charities for a stronger society (Session 2016-17, HL Paper 133).” The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I draw notice to my charitable interests as listed in the House register.

This insightful report rightly stresses that we live in a time when charities provide an ever-greater volume and range of social provision in our society. Therefore, their role must be thoughtfully recognised and supported by the Government. I am proud of the role that the Church of England and all UK faith groups play in this provision. As examples, we run food banks, advice drop-ins, youth clubs and practical skills and jobs training, support the elderly and offer legal support to asylum seekers. According to New Philanthropy Capital, more than a quarter of charities in Great Britain have an association with faith and many people of faith help in the full range of charities. The significance of faith as a motivator for charitable action should never be underestimated. The particular needs and challenges that the Church and other faith-based charities face must be considered and taken seriously in any coherent strategy for the long-term flourishing of UK charities. Continue reading “Bishop of Durham highlights work of faith-based charities and role of volunteers”

Bishop of Rochester on the role of churches, voluntary and community groups in building the common good

On 11th June 2015 the Bishop of Rochester, Rt Revd James Langstaff, spoke during the House of Lords debate on the Bishops’ Pastoral Letter for the 2015 General Election. The text is below and the speeches of others in the debate can be read here

Bishop of RochesterThe Lord Bishop of Rochester: My Lords, I, too, am grateful to my friend the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of St Albans for initiating this debate, and the opportunity to reflect on the House of Bishops’ pastoral letter, which, although issued in the context of an election, was written in the hope that it would provide an ongoing stimulus to thinking and reflecting on the shape of our society and the kind of society that we wish to be. Not least, it will provide something of a challenge to the churches, to which it is primarily addressed, but to others also, to discover afresh something that is a treasure and very much part of our story. Reference has been made to Magna Carta, and as Bishop of Rochester I would be remiss not to remind noble Lords of the existence of the Textus Roffensis, which predates the Magna Carta, although it is not quite so long, and which also merits celebration. Continue reading “Bishop of Rochester on the role of churches, voluntary and community groups in building the common good”

Bishop of St Albans leads debate on civil society, the common good and the Bishops’ General Election pastoral letter

“I am convinced that there is urgent work to be done to establish a new politics that seeks the common good. Indeed, I am keen that we will be able to explore the forms that such an approach to politics might take and the role that churches, charities and voluntary organisations, and indeed all intermediate institutions, can play in moving us in that direction.” – Bishop of St Albans, 11/6/15

On the 11th June 2015 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, led a House of Lords debate on the pastoral letter of the House of Bishops for the General Election of 2015. The debate was titled:

‘That this House takes note of the role played by civil society, in the light of the pastoral letter from the Church of England’s House of Bishops, Who is my neighbour?’

The Bishop’s speech is below in full, along with his closing remarks and links to the speeches of the other 16 participants.The speech and subsequent debate can also be watched here.

Bishop St Albans June 2015The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, there is much in our nation for which we can be profoundly grateful. Next week, as we mark 800 years since the sealing of Magna Carta, we give thanks for the long, yet sometimes tortuous, path that has led us to becoming a modern democracy. That moment was if not the birth then perhaps at least the conception of civil society at the beginning of a long gestation.

Last month, we celebrated 70 years of peace since the end of the Second World War, by which time civil society as we know it today was coming of age. As a nation, we have experienced extraordinary levels of economic growth over recent decades. Life expectancy has increased significantly and, importantly for this debate, in many communities in our nations, civil society is still strong and thriving. I for one am immensely grateful to be living in modern Britain and do not want to give any time to sentimental talk about a bygone era that probably never existed. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans leads debate on civil society, the common good and the Bishops’ General Election pastoral letter”