Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby warns of devastating economic impact of a second lockdown as new coronavirus restrictions come into force
- Archbishop of Canterbury warned of the economic impact of second lockdown
- Justin Welby wrote letter with Archbishop of York, the Most Rev Stephen Cottrell
- The said: ‘Our national situation is much more complicated than it was in March’
The Archbishop of Canterbury warned yesterday of the devastating economic impact of a second lockdown.
Church of England leader the Most Rev Justin Welby declared that the UK is in ‘a situation which threatens the recovery from the huge decline in the economy’ during the first lockdown.
His warning came in a joint letter written by the archbishop and the Archbishop of York, the Most Rev Stephen Cottrell, on how the UK should deal with a second wave of coronavirus.
They wrote: ‘The most vulnerable to this second wave are the small companies who employ the most people and especially those in the hospitality industry.
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby declared that the UK is in ‘a situation which threatens the recovery from the huge decline in the economy’ during the first lockdown
‘The poor, the elderly and isolated are especially vulnerable. There will be growing nervousness about Christmas, about mental health and many other issues.’
The archbishops said: ‘There will also be a sense of tiredness – the weariness which comes with dealing with yet another threat and difficulty. To face this, we must continue to encourage one another and bear one another’s burdens.’
They added: ‘Our national situation is much more complicated than it was in March.
‘The divisions are deeper. There is public and reasonable concern about hunger – especially amongst children – and homelessness, with an expected rapid rise in evictions. Domestic violence remains a major issue which is concealed.’
The letter said that banks should be ‘encouraged’ to be as merciful to customers in trouble as the UK was to them when taxpayers bailed out the banking system after the financial collapse of 2008.
The archbishops cited the New Testament parable of the unforgiving servant, suggesting that bankers who fail to treat customers as they were treated themselves should be punished.
The letter, sent to the bishops of the Church, also contained the first admission that Archbishop Welby and his advisers may have been too accommodating to Government demands when they agreed to close all churches during lockdown.
The letter said that banks should be ‘encouraged’ to be as merciful to customers. Pictured: The financial district skyline in central London
It said the Church was not ‘in the same place as before’ and added: ‘We have learned a great deal.
‘In our leadership of the Church and in the witness we show to our nation we need to be determined, resilient and hopeful. We will need to be more critical in our response to restrictions that are above and beyond Government regulations.’
Archbishop Welby has been a frequent critic of the banks and the City since his arrival at Lambeth Palace in 2013. He has blamed them for worsening poverty and inequality.
The letter yesterday said: ‘It will be for us and others to encourage the banks, who received such help in 2009, to be equally merciful to others as the nation was to them. St Matthew 18:23-35 seems highly relevant.’
The parable tells the story of a servant who begs a king to write off a large debt. The king allows him to go free, but the servant then refuses to help a fellow servant who owes him a much smaller sum and has him thrown in jail.
The unforgiving servant is then delivered to ‘tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him’.
The archbishop has suggested in the past that the £500billion taxpayer bailout for the banks after the 2008 collapse could have better spent.
However, he has sometimes found that criticism of bankers and big business has backfired because of the Church’s financial links to companies such as payday lender Wonga.