Justin Welby 'embarrassed' about C of E living wage revelation, but reaffirms Church commitment

The Archbishop of Canterbury said that he was "embarrassed" that the Church of England was still not paying the living wage.Reuters

The Archbishop of Canterbury has said it is "embarrassing" that posts in the Church of England are being advertised for less than the living wage despite the Church's declared commitment to the principle.

According to the Sun newspaper, Canterbury Cathedral advertised for a kiosk assistant to be paid £6.70 an hour. Another advertisement, for Lichfield Cathedral, sought "waiting-on" staff at £6.50 an hour. The living wage, calculated at how much a reasonable standard of living actually costs, is currently £7.85 an hour outside London.

The living wage commitment was included in the controversial bishops' pastoral letter, 'Who is my Neighbour?', released last week.
Speaking at a conference in Birmingham today for business and Church leaders, the Archbishop of Canterbury said that the revelation was "embarrassing". However, the Press Association reported: "But in the light of transparency, which I welcome, I will say we are a complex institution and every parish church and cathedral is an independent charity, as is every diocese.

"We don't have a centralised method of control.

"I'm not very keen on centralised control where, from far away, you tell people what to do."

He said that individual organisations would move towards implementing the living wage as their resources allowed and that people would have to make up their own minds about allegations that the Church was being hypocritical.

In a statement, the Church of England said: "The vast majority of those employed by or sub-contracted to the central institutions are already paid at least the living wage and all will be by April 2017.

"The Diocese of Canterbury and the Pensions Board of the Church of England are committed to moving to paying the living wage and hope to be at that point within the next 2 years. As charities both institutions require time to increase giving levels prior to ensuring delivery of the living wage."