Bishops hit out at ‘immoral’ Government

|PIC1|Five bishops from the Church of England have slammed the Labour Government’s 11 years in office.

Speaking to the Sunday Telegraph, the Bishops of Durham, Winchester, Manchester, Carlisle and Hulme said the UK was suffering under family breakdown, debt and a widening gap between rich and poor, and accused the Government of pursuing “scandalous” policies.

The Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Rev Nigel McCulloch, said the Government was “beguiled by money” and had “acted scandalously” by encouraging greed and debt.

"This is not just an economic issue, but a moral one," he said.

"The government believes that money can answer all of the problems and has encouraged greed and a love of money that the Bible says is the root of all evil.

"It's morally corrupt because it encourages people to get into a lifestyle of believing they can always get what they want.

"We have the poor feeling they have been betrayed and the gap is getting ever greater. Any government of integrity would have exercised restraint, but this has been sadly lacking."

The Bishop of Hulme, the Rt Rev Stephen Lowe, said: "The government isn't telling people who are already deep in debt to stop overextending themselves, but instead is urging us to spend more.

"That is morally suspect and morally feeble. It is unfair and irresponsible of the government to put pressure on the public to spend in order to revive the economy."

Elaborating on his comments to the BBC last night, Bishop Lowe said that the Government was “morally suspect” and had to learn the lessons of the present financial crisis.

The Bishop of Durham, the Rt Rev Tom Wright, accused Labour of broken promises.

"Labour made a lot of promises, but a lot of them have vanished into thin air," he said in a separate interview with The Sunday Telegraph.

"We have not seen a raising of aspirations in the last 13 years, but instead there is a sense of hopelessness. While the rich have got richer, the poor have got poorer.

"When a big bank or car company goes bankrupt, it gets bailed out, but no one seems to be bailing out the ordinary people who are losing their jobs and seeing their savings diminished."

The latest comments follow an extraordinary attack just last week from the Archbishop of Canterbury over the Government’s response to the credit crunch.

Dr Rowan Williams, spiritual leader of the world’s Anglicans, said that the Government’s plans to boost lending were like an “addict returning to the drug”.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the son of a Church of Scotland minister, is expected to say in his New Year address that the recession will be a test of Britain’s character.

A Government spokeswoman defended Labour’s record in power, telling the BBC that it had a “strong record of helping people out of poverty”.

“We have also made record increases in the amount invested in public services over the last decade.

"When times are tough we believe that people should be given more support, not less.

"That is why we are giving real help now to families and businesses during this global economic downturn, to help those affected retrain and get a new job and keep their homes."