Archbishop of Canterbury sees 'culture of entitlement' in City

Published 27 April 2013
PA
The Archbishop of Canterbury the Most Reverend Justin Welby

The Archbishop of Canterbury says there is a "culture of entitlement" in the banking and financial sectors at odds with what others would regard as reasonable.

The Most Reverend Justin Welby is a member of the cross-party Banking Standards Commission.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Week in Westminster programme, he said prospective employees in the banking industry should be subject to training and exams because of the capacity banks have "to have such an impact on the wider economy".

"Banks are incredibly complicated things, it is one of the most demanding and complicated areas of management going. The idea that people can hold hugely responsible positions in them without any kind of formal training seems to a number of us as quite surprising."

He said: "I think in banking, in particular, and in the City of London, a culture of entitlement has affected a number of areas, not universally by any means, in which it seemed to disconnect from what people saw as reasonable in the rest of the world."

The Archbishop expanded on comments he made at a Bible Society-organised event in Westminster last week in which he said Britain was in a "depression" rather than a recession.

"Historically, depressions have been recognised as lengthy periods in which the economy did not get back to its previous level of activity before a recession set in," he said.

"So 1929 to 1932 is the great example. There was a big one towards the end of the 19th Century.

"We are still significantly below where we were in 2007 in terms of economic activity, of GDP, and that's quite a long time of being below.

"Now, I'm not pointing any fingers at anyone in particular and saying it's so-and-so's fault or so-and-so's fault, it's simply a measurable fact coming from the national statistics."

While the Archbishop said his key mission was leading the Church in worshipping Jesus and encouraging others to believe in him, he said the Gospel had "strong social implications", especially concerning the common good".

"So issues of how the City of London, which is so important and so full of very gifted people, how that behaves in relation to the common good is very key, not to the whole thing that I'm about or the Church is about, but to how we express the implications of that in day to day life," he said.

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