§ Mr. Alton
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will take steps to alter the powers of the Charity Commission so that the charitable status of religious bodies and churches cannot be removed by the commission, nor be treated by the commission as if it has been removed unless or until the said religious bodies or churches have been found to have objectives or practices inconsistent with charitable status by a court of law; and if he will make a statement on his policy on the previous early-day motion tabled by the hon. Member for Coventry, South-East (Mr. Wilson).
§ Mr. Whitelaw
The criteria for determining the charitable status of churches and religious bodies, and the powers exercisable by the Charity Commissioners in that connection, are among the matters dealt with in the Expenditure Committee's report of 1975 on the Charity Commissioners and their accountability. I have had very little time yet to consider this and other matters raised in that report, and I ask the hon. Member to await the Government's observations on the report which will be published in due course.