Opinion

How the Archbishop of Canterbury's comments in The Big Issue caused a furore

The Archbishop of Canterbury commented on the effects of austerity on the poorest in society inside this week's magazine.

We were in the middle of election fever when Archbishop Justin Welby spoke to Sam Delaney last month. The pair discussed austerity Britain, Jeremy Corbyn and Prince Andrew. Welby also shared a Christmas message for our Big Issue readers.

We published that interview today, inside this week’s edition of The Big Issue – the week after one of the most fraught elections in recent history. And it’s safe to say it’s got people talking!

You can read an excerpt of the article here 

Big Issue founder John Bird discussed the issues raised by Welby with Kay Burley on Sky News this morning.

Meanwhile, BBC News picked up on Welby’s comments, stating: “The Archbishop of Canterbury has said he is concerned about the direction the UK is travelling in, citing an increase in homelessness and a decline in tolerance toward minority groups.”

But Welby’s response to our man Sam Delaney’s question about austerity that caused the most debate.

“I’m not saying we are in a crisis”, says Welby. “I’m just saying the direction of travel is not what we want.”

“It has got worse over the last nine years. Rough sleeping has gone up. That is a matter of fact. People will argue about the causes but it is a fact it has gone up. 

“Foodbank use has risen. There has been a huge rise in the client base of Christians Against Poverty, the debt-counselling charity. Also, people’s tolerance for minorities has gone down. Minority groups have had a much harder time, asylum seekers, immigrants. The use of vitriolic language has gone up significantly. We have had an MP murdered. I am not saying we are in a crisis, I am just saying the direction of travel is not what we want.”

The Mirror  and The Independent picked up on his comments relating to austerity Britain, while Tatler magazine and Huffington Post focused on those about the Royal Family.

And the Daily Mail made it their front page….

Front Cover Template

But while sparks keep flying both on and offline, you know the only way to find out the whole story is to buy this week’s Big Issue magazine, available to buy from our vendors on the street!

Can’t find a vendor? Order you copy online and help us to provide more employment opportunities for people in need.

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
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