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Church News

Here's how the Government is supporting churches financially

by Cara Bentley

A Christian MP has asked the Government what financial help it is providing for faith groups and organisations in the UK 

Ruth Jones, the Labour representative for Newport West, asked how they are supporting religious institutions in her constituency, Wales and the rest of the UK. 

She received a reply from Luke Hall, the Conservative MP for Thornbury and Yate, who is also parliamentary under-secretary in the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. 

Mr Hall replied: "We are working closely with a range of faith and community groups to better understand how Government can support them to respond to the pressures they face on sustaining their organisations during this period of time.

"There are a range of Government-backed financial support measures that these organisations in the United Kingdom can access."

Churches that are registered with the Charity Commission are eligible for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Scheme. 

He said churches that are unable to pay their HMRC tax bill should get in contact with the helpline: 0800 024 1222 to agree a payment plan. If the church pays VAT it can defer payments

Churches are also allowed to use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (to furlough staff), although Mr Hall acknowledged "that some charities cannot furlough staff as they are contributing to the frontline response."

For churches that are providing front line support, such as food and shelter for those who might otherwise go without, they could receive funding from the £750 million announced for the charity sector by the Chanchellor Rishi Sunak. This would be direct cash grants from the Government to make sure day-to-day and extra demands are met by those charities or churches. 

Departments are said to be working "at pace" to identify where the priority lies, with the aim for charities to receive money in the coming weeks. The application system for the National Lottery Community Fund grant pot is expected to be operational within a similar period of time.

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