MPs: local councils are too ‘suspicious’ of faith groups

Local authorities are overly “suspicious” about faith groups, creating barriers to working with them on social projects, a report by MPs says.

Gary Streeter MP, chair of Christians in Parliament, said: “there is an obsession about equality and political correctness that can hamper those doing the most to tackle inequality.”

He blamed a failure of “religious literacy” and a lack of “understanding”, meaning the motivation of faith groups is often misunderstood.


But, he said, there are good examples of faith groups and local councils working well together.

He said many barriers have “fallen by the wayside” when they “have taken time to get to know each other”.

The report “Faith in the Community” by the All-Party Parliamentary Group Christians in Parliament looked at the dynamics between 155 local councils and faith groups.


It found that there were fears over exclusivity, equality and evangelism.

However, the report said concerns were “more about perceptions than reality”.

Mr Streeter said: “Too little effort has gone into understanding each other, and as a result barriers – either real or imagined – have arisen to inhibit this vital and vibrant collaboration.”


The aim of the report was to “promote closer and more fruitful relationships in the future”.

It comes after an inquiry last year by the group which found Christianity is being driven out of public life because of ignorance of religion.

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