The Christian Peoples Alliance seeks to be a voice not just for Christians, but for the whole community. But disillusionment in the churches with the political system is now evident. There is a deep sense of grievance with the way the equalities legislation is working. We aim to address the causes of this and fight for religious liberty.
All across Britain, churches and Christian people are working hard to help poor and vulnerable people. They are often the most active and effective groups reaching out to those in need in any community. Yet Churches rarely receive the support they need from secular politicians because there is an in built prejudice in the system against religious projects, especially Christian projects. Commendable efforts have been made by Christian groups to challenge this. But a direct voice in Parliament to challenge prejudice and ignorance will make a real difference.
Individual Christians in the secular workplace have suffered for expressing their faith, while church-based projects have been forced into silence over their faith motivation. Through the introduction of the Equalities Act and laws like it, a new heirarchy of rights has put the needs of sexual minorities above religious freedom. We will challenge this.
In championing the role of Christian projects, the CPA will ensure that they do not become dependent on government hand-outs or are captured by the hand that feeds them. Government funding to Third Sector voluntary organisations doubled under the last government to more than £10 billion a year, making much of the voluntary sector dependent on government grants and contracts.
Our vision is to see a new age of philanthropy in Britain, where government works to leverage new funds from business and wealthy individuals to support progressive social change. We agree with critics of the Office of the Third Sector that it has become too close to vested interests. We want it to be scrapped and replaced with an Office of Social Innovation. This will work to improve corporate philanthropy budgets so that all companies devote 1 per cent of their profits to social innovation and all companies drive up staff payroll giving. Our objective is to see a proportion of government spending reserved for match funding partnerships with philanthropists.