Motion to treat all religious institutions as charities is dropped

Bill presented by Peter Bone, a Conservative MP, would have meant all religious bodies would be considered charities without having to demonstrate public benefit

MP Peter Bone
MP Peter Bone

A conservative backbencher’s bill that proposed treating all religious institutions as charities has failed to complete its passage through parliament.

Peter Bone, the Conservative MP for Wellingborough, presented the Ten Minute Rule Motion in the House of Commons last December.

The bill sought to amend the Charities Act 2011, so that all religious institutions would be treated as charities without having to show they provide public benefit.

Before the Charities Act 2006 (now consolidated in the 2011 act), religious charities were presumed to provide public benefit, as were charities for the advancement of education and relief of poverty. Bone's bill would, in effect, have turned the clock back.

But the bill ran out of time to make it through parliament and has been dropped, along with the bulk of the other ongoing parliamentary business at the end of the parliamentary session last week.

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations had warned that the proposal "risks owngrading religious charities in the public mind".

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