THE END, it seems, has finally come in the long-running legal dispute between SPCK and the Brewer brothers/St Stephen the Great Charitable Trust.
In a statement issued on Friday 14th Sept 2012 — just short of six years since SPCK announced that fatally flawed decision to hand their bookshops over to SSG in October 2006 — SPCK have now announced closure, with “the return of some shop freeholds or their realised value” which will enable them to pay “substantial sums into the fund relating to the pension which was operating in the days of the shops”.
Congratulations must be made to Simon Kingston in particular for his quiet determination and persistence in pursuing this matter to a conclusion. The damage done by the Brewer brothers can never be undone but most of those who suffered at their hands should now be able to begin to look forward to a brighter future and, hopefully, some measure of restitution:
SPCK is pleased to announce that it has finally concluded its long legal dispute with Saint Stephen the Great Charitable Trust. Simon Kingston, CEO and General Secretary, says: “We are very glad to have brought this difficult matter to a conclusion at last. It has been painful for everybody, and particularly for the staff of our former shops. We therefore welcome the news that SSGCT is unlikely to continue as a charity.
“We are now in a better position to focus all our energies on our core aim of bringing knowledge of the Christian faith to the whole world.”
As part of the agreement, SPCK receives a predicated settlement involving the return of some shop freeholds or their realised value. This will be reflected in SPCK’s annual accounts. However, we anticipate substantial disbursements – as yet unquantified – and legal costs which will be clarified in the coming months.
“Funds from this settlement will be vital at a time that is so challenging financially,” said Mr Kingston. “In particular, SPCK is committed to paying substantial sums into the fund relating to the pension which was operating in the days of the shops.”
The Rt Revd John Pritchard, Bishop of Oxford, Chair of SPCK, also welcomed the announcement. “This is good news for SPCK and good news for the Church. Now that this is resolved, SPCK can look to the future with confidence.
“And there is plenty to celebrate. Last year, for example, SPCK gave away 12,000 International Study Guides to students training for ministry in some of the poorest parts of the world. Closer to home, the (free) Assemblies website had 37 million hits, and the charity sold over a third of a million books in the UK and another 300,000 overseas. There are more exciting developments in hand for 2012, including the launch of resources supporting literacy in prisons.”
- For detailed background to this story, see SPCK/SSG: News, Notes & Info