Supporters of the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church have submitted around 120 separate written submissions to the Public Administration Select Committee in a bid to influence its inquiry into charity law and regulation of the sector.
The submissions will all be published online over the next couple of weeks.
The Brethren have been denied charitable status by the Charity Commission. The regulator felt that the exclusive nature of many of the Church’s activities did not meet the test of advancing religion for the public benefit, and so it turned down its application for charity registration. The Brethren is to appeal this decision in the Charity Tribunal this year.
Dates have now been set for this hearing. Five days have been allowed, from Friday 22 March to Thursday 28 March.
Church elders had already made a written submission to the PASC inquiry, setting out their case in support of their application for charitable status, and some Conservative members of the Committee have already made clear their support for the Church’s campaign.
But during December the Committee was inundated with submissions relating to the Brethren case, and a spokesman confirmed that virtually all are in support of the Church.
The deadline for evidence to the PASC inquiry has now passed and the next stage is for the Committee to publish its report, making recommendations to government. The government will then respond but that could take months.