Britain’s economic model is broken and needs reform, says Archbishop of Canterbury

Here’s what was said

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has said that Britain’s economic model is broken and has called for ‘fundamental reform’ as the gap between the richest and poorest in society grows.

His remarks come in a report backed by business leaders and commissioned by centre-left think tank the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR).

The archbishop said: “Our economic model is broken. Britain stands at a watershed moment where we need to make fundamental choices about the sort of economy we need.

“We are failing those who will grow up into a world where the gap between the richest and poorest parts of the country is significant and destabilising.”

The interim report of the IPPR commission on economic justice warns “the UK is the most geographically unbalanced economy in Europe”.

The report says that “economic growth no longer leads to higher pay” and that “gains from growth have gone largely into profits rather than wages, and the UK economy is now in the longest period of earnings stagnation for 150 years.”

“Young people today are poorer than previous generations at the same age. For too many people and parts of the country, the ‘economic promise’ of rising living standards has been broken,” the report adds.

“The economy is suffering from deep and longstanding weaknesses, which make it unfit to face the challenges of the 2020s.

“This is, therefore, the moment for new, radical policy options to be debated.”

However, a Treasury spokesman said: “Employment is at a record high, the deficit is down and inequality is at a 30-year low. We are proud of this record but there is more to be done.

“That is why we are investing £23bn in infrastructure, R&D and housing while also reforming technical education to prepare for the high-paid, high-skilled jobs of the future.”

The commission is calling for an urgent public debate on taxation, the education system, the role of the financial sector, the power of trade unions and the impact and rise of internet giants such as Amazon, Facebook and Google.

The IPPR commission members include John Lewis chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield, general secretary of the TUC Frances O’Grady and Siemens UK chief executive Juergen Maier.

It will publish a detailed policy recommendation in autumn 2018.

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