All of them, those in power, and those who want the power, would pamper us, if we agreed to overlook their crookedness by wilfully restricting our activities.
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This is a simple guide to one of the most controversial advantages that the Church of Scientology (in the form of COSRECI) has in the UK. That is the 80% mandatory business rates relief granted to them by the City of London Corporation (CoL) in October 2006 for their "Ideal Org" at 146 Queen Victoria Street. This mandatory business rates relief saves them more than 270K GBP per year and this has to be paid for by everybody in the UK. Effectively, the CoL has forced everybody in the UK to sponsor what many regard as a "cult".
The CoL accepted that Scientology was a religion but they may not have been aware that it would have to demonstrate that it was "for the public benefit" to receive this rates relief. It is possible they just assumed that because it was a religion then it must be for the public benefit. Their decision cuts across the decision of the Charity Commision (CC) in 1999 that refused charitable status to the newly created "Church of Scientology (England and Wales)" (CoSEW). The CC took a full three years to come to their decision. They carefully considered the arguments for charitable status put forward and consulted case law to decide whether CoSEW was a religion (the third head of charity) or whether it was for the help of the community (the fourth head of charity) and separately whether "public benefit" was demonstrated in either case. They concluded that Scientology was not a religion and that it was not for the help of the community and that public benefit had not been demonstrated in either case. The CC judged CoSEW on the actual activites of the Church of Scientology in the UK at that time and during this time they were controlled by COSRECI so the CC would have similarly refused charitable status for COSRECI had they applied.
A campaign is on to get the CoL to fully explain the reasoning behind their decision using Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) requests but the responses received seem evasive and lacking in any real content. This is resulting in growing frustration and a growing controversy. It is approaching the stage where a Judicial Review might be required to force the CoL to reveal exactly how they came to their conclusion, including how they were satisfied that "public benefit" had been demonstrated, and then, if their argument is flawed, to get this decision overturned by the judge.
The long and difficult to read document about Scientology rates relief in the UK is here:
Copyright (C) Roland Rashleigh-Berry, 19 August 2010.