To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps are being taken to increase community programmes that promote interfaith dialogue and cohesion.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): In the present financial year my department is supporting Faiths in Action, a small grants scheme through which grants of up to £6,000 are made to support innovative local inter faith projects. Information about the programme may be found on the website of the Community Development Foundation. My department will also be making financial support available for activities in Inter Faith Week this November.
We have made these spending commitments, which total over £2 million, because we recognise that inter faith dialogue and action do much to increase community cohesion. Future financial support for cohesion and other programmes is a matter for the spending review which will conclude in the autumn. Meanwhile, the Government are working closely with the Christian churches and other faith communities to ensure that they are involved in building the big society, in which individuals and groups take responsibility for improving their communities.