Justin Welby is a business man these days. On top of his duties as the Archbishop of Canterbury, Welby is carving out a career for himself as a wealth inequality spokesperson. In a recent interview, the Old Etonian was voluble on the subject of wealth inequality. Having spent two years on the IPPR’s commission on economic justice, Welby suggested that taxes should be hiked for corporations and regulatory bodies should be strengthened. In a speech to the Trade Union Congress on Wednesday, Welby singled out Amazon:
‘When vast companies like Amazon and other online traders, the new industries, can get away with paying almost nothing in tax, there is something wrong with the tax system.
They don’t pay a real living wage, so the taxpayer must support their workers with benefits. And having leeched off the taxpayer once they don’t pay for our defence, for security, for stability, for justice, health, equality, education.’
Only there’s a problem. The Church Times reports that Amazon was among the 20 biggest global investments by the Church of England last year. Adding to Welby’s woes, it turns out that despite his recent turns condemning zero-hours contracts, several UK churches are advertising zero-hours jobs.
Time to repent? No. The Church of England has said it will keep its shares in Amazon as the best way to seek to change is to be ‘in the room with these companies’ as a shareholder.
Mr S suspects Welby should take a rain check on any upcoming inequality engagements.