Aaqil Ahmed disclosed he has reviewed Radio Four’s 'God slot’ in response to complaints that it was “too religious”.

However, the daily homily on the Today programme is intended to provide a “religious” perspective on the news and should not be opened up to people of no faith, Mr Ahmed has concluded.

“We should always analyse whether we should continue with something and in the last year or two we’ve had some very detailed thoughts about this and we’ve decided to continue as was,” he said in an interview with The Sunday Telegraph ahead of a major conference this week on religion in Britain hosted by the BBC.

He added: “People have complained, as they have the right to, and I have taken a view that at this moment in time as far as I’m concerned we stay as we do.

“It is a specific slot within the Today programme which is a reflection from a religious perspective on stories of importance in the news.”

At the conference, Re:think, the BBC will also unveil new figures showing that the number of people in Britain who affiliate with a religion has dropped from 68 per cent in 1983 to 53 per cent last year.

The figures also show a significant gap between younger and older members of society, with 77 per cent of people over 66 saying they are religious compared to 35 per cent of people aged between 18 and 25.