Government statements in parliament have confirmed that, despite massive spending cuts to public services being announced later today, large funding for ‘faith’ groups is to continue. The BHA has criticised this decision, saying there is little evidence that ‘faith’ groups in the community need continued funding from the public purse, over and above that already available to groups in the voluntary sector generally.
In an answer to a written Parliamentary question last week, Baroness Hanham, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, confirmed that they would again be funding ‘Interfaith Week’ in November and will continue with a grant scheme that is open only to groups working on ‘interfaith’ issues.
The previous government spent a huge amount of money on programmes to engage with ‘faith communities’, including millions in grant funding, plus money for ‘interfaith week,’ a national conference, strategy papers, regional funding and printed guidance for local authorities.
Pepper Harow, BHA Campaigns Officer, commented, ‘There is little evidence that faith groups within the voluntary sector are in need of specific and additional support yet the coalition government has agreed to continue the targeting of resources in this area. At a time where the voluntary and local sectors will suffer severely from budget cuts it is even more important that, where there is to be funding and support from the state, it is supported by evidence of need and is available to all groups, regardless of their religious status.’
For comment or information, contact Pepper Harow, Campaigns Officer, on 0207 462 4992.
The British Humanist Association is the national charity representing and supporting the interests of ethically concerned, non-religious people in the UK. It is the largest organisation in the UK campaigning for an end to religious privilege and to discrimination based on religion or belief, and for a secular state.