Inter Faith Network Closure

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons am 11:13 am ar 22 Chwefror 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Stephen Timms Stephen Timms Chair, Work and Pensions Committee, Chair, Work and Pensions Committee 11:13, 22 Chwefror 2024

Since 1987, the Inter Faith Network has been the UK’s principal vehicle for inter-faith dialogue, supporting the annual Inter Faith Week, and activities and dialogue undertaken by inter-faith groups across the whole country. The network has been supported by Government funding for some 20 years. The IFN was told on 31 March last year, before the trustee appointment that the Minister referred to, that its funding would be ended from the following day. Why has the organisation been treated in that extraordinary way? Last July, the network received a letter from the Secretary of State to inform it that it would, after all, receive funding for the current financial year. That promise has never been honoured. Why not?

Given the debate in this Chamber yesterday, is it not extraordinarily stupid to be shutting down at this precise point our principal vehicle in the UK for Muslim-Jewish dialogue? Surely we need more, not to be shutting it down? Why has the Secretary of State not honoured the commitment that he made to me to meet me, Theresa Villiers and the noble Lord Singh to discuss this matter before making his decision, and will the Minister pay tribute and express thanks to the trustees and officers of the Inter Faith Network for the very important contribution that they have made to UK national life over the last 37 years?