Rowan Williams in Christian Aid Week: 'We must stand up for the underdog'

Andrew Winning/ReutersFormer Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, chair of Christian Aid

The former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams has called on Britain to continue its tradition of standing up for the underdog.

As thousands of volunteers hit the streets this collecting for Christian Aid Week, Lord Williams, who is chair of rthe charity, said Britain must not cut back on its overseas aid budget or turn its back on refugees.

This week marks the 60th anniversary of Christian Aid Week, and Williams said it is a time of great change for the political and social landscape of Britain.

'We face great choices about the soul and future of our nation. For many it is a time of uncertainty and fear, for others an opportunity for change and optimism.

'But I believe that all of us as individuals can play a vital role in shaping our nation. We can choose to turn inwards and struggle more and more urgently to protect ourselves; or we can look outwards, recognising that our good is bound up with that of others,' he said in a statement.

'We British are famously known for standing up for the underdog and standing firm when things get tough. We do not only look out for those less fortunate than ourselves; we want to meet halfway those working hard to stand on their own two feet. Effective aid is not about creating dependence but helping people become valued partners and co-workers for a safe and equitable world.

'The British public are rightly proud that our great nation hasn't turned its back on the world's poorest people. As we enter the election period and discuss the future of our country, debate the terms of Brexit and our relationship with the EU, as we also form our new relationship with the world, it is time to wear our aid budget as a badge of honour - one that sets a standard for others to follow.'

People can help to change the lives of refugees fleeing conflict and crisis by donating online at or texting 'GIVE' to 70040 to give £5.