Pagan Federation withdraws appeal to charity tribunal over charitable status

Vice-chair Mike Stygal says it is thinking over whether to apply again, but needs time to reflect

Pagan Federation
Pagan Federation

The Pagan Federation has withdrawn its appeal to the charity tribunal against the Charity Commission's refusal to grant it charitable status.

The commission rejected the federation’s application for charitable status in October because it said the federation "does not meet all the essential characteristics of a religion for the purposes of charity law" and was not for the public benefit.

The federation appealed to the tribunal against the decision, arguing that being a polytheistic rather than monotheistic religion should be no bar to acquiring religious status.

But Mike Stygal, vice-chair of the federation, said today that the commission’s submissions to the tribunal had made it clear that the federation did not meet certain criteria.

He said the federation was a representative body for religious organisations, rather than a religious organisation itself, and that applying for charitable status on the grounds of religion "wasn’t necessarily appropriate".

He said the federation might reapply on the grounds that it was an umbrella body and provided education, but that it would take time to develop better evidence of the work it did.

"We may go back, but there’s no guarantee," said Stygal. "We have different directions we could take the organisation in."

He said that being a charity placed certain restrictions on the organisation, and that it would have to consider whether the benefits of charitable status outweighed those restrictions.

He said the federation might also try develop a charitable arm, rather than apply for the whole organisation to become charitable.

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