Charity Commission had statutory inquiries open into 23 faith-based charities last year

Chief executive Paula Sussex reveals the figures for 2013/14 in a response to a written parliamentary question about the proportion of inquiries that are into charities with religious objects

Charity Commission
Charity Commission

Nine Islamic charities and seven Christian charities were among the 23 charities with religious objects that were subject to statutory inquiries by the Charity Commission last year, figures from the regulator show.

The information is contained in a letter from Paula Sussex, chief executive of the commission, in response to a written parliamentary question from Kate Green, the Labour MP for Stretford and Urmston, who is also shadow equalities minister, about the proportion of inquiries the regulator had opened over the past three years that involved faith-based charities.

Sussex’s response does not provide information for the past three years but says that of the 201 inquiries that the regulator had open in 2013/14, 23 were into charities that carried out religious activities.

Of those 23 inquiries, nine were into Islamic charities, seven were into Christian charities and four were into Jewish charities.

Of the remaining three, two were into Sikh charities and one was listed as "other". There were no statutory inquiries into Hindu or Buddhist charities in 2013/14.

The response says that charities with purposes that include, but are not limited to, the advancement of religion make up about a fifth of those registered with the commission, but the regulator does not hold information that breaks this down into different faiths.

Sussex says in the response that the regulator intends to "keep analysing the data going forward including for any areas of potential over or under-representation, compared to the overall breakdown of the register of charities".

Appearing before MPs on the Public Accounts Committee in January, Sussex said the commission might need to do more to monitor the types of charities into which it is opening cases to ensure there is no religious or other bias.

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