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Voluntary Organisations: Catholic Church

Volume 458: debated on Monday 12 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the cost was to the public purse of funding for Catholic welfare agencies, excluding those providing housing or adoption services, in each year since 1997. (119979)

[holding answer 19 February 2007]: The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) was formed in June 2001 from the Department of Social Security (DSS), the Employment Service (ES) and parts of the former Department for Education and Employment (DfEE). Any financial information would only be available from that time.

The Department for Work and Pensions has not provided any direct funding for Catholic welfare agencies.

The Department’s agencies have links with many voluntary and charitable organisations and in a number of cases have entered into contracts with them. However, it is not possible to say if payments have been made to any particular faith-based agencies as no record is kept of a supplier’s religious affiliation.

I announced on 19 February that I have asked the Department’s commercial director to develop a centre of expertise within the procurement team working with the third sector, to specifically cover the needs of faith-based groups. In doing this, I want to make sure that access to contracts for faith groups can be on an even footing with all other private and voluntary sector organisations who wish to compete to deliver our services.