Sir, The logic of the argument advanced by the chairman of the Charity Commission defending his organisation’s decision to award charitable status for the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church (letter, Mar 19) does not withstand scrutiny.
William Shawcross asserts that the commission was “the first public authority to put on record the ‘detriment and harm’ caused by the doctrines and practices of the Brethren”. He then states that, after concessions, it registered various Brethren organisations as charities. Awarding charitable status to these bodies under any circumstances means that they can claim Gift Aid, which boosts the resources of the very organisations the commission previously found caused “detriment and harm”.
The reality of the matter is that the commission has taken a positive decision to facilitate the Brethren’s existence. A full explanation of the process and the individuals involved in granting this “harmful” organisation charitable status must follow.
Sir Stephen Bubb
Chief executive, Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations