Wealth is not enough to make a good society, says Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby


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The Archbishop of Canterbury has warned that a booming economy is not enough to create a healthy society.

The Most Rev Justin Welby said that celebrations about growth needed to be balanced by a better understanding of Britain’s problems.

An economy that built enough decent housing for all and lowering unemployment levels was most important, he said.

“A flourishing economy is necessary, but not sufficient. Increases in GDP, an economy that produces jobs, particularly in areas of historically very long-term unemployment - multi-generational un-employment­ - that is important. We need everyone to be able to afford good housing.”

The Archbishop added: “A healthy society flourishes and distributes economic resources effectively, but also has a deep spiritual base which gives it its virtue. A deep spiritual base in the Christian tradition enables [society] to shape its way of life and care for each other in accordance with the teachings of Christ.”

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph after giving a sermon in Nairobi, his comments were said to have echoed arguments once made by Prime Minister David Cameron that “general well-being” was as important for the country as GDP.

Official data, due to be released on Friday, is expected to show that GDP grew by around 0.7 per cent between July and September, the fastest pace since the Coalition took office.

On Tuesday, the Treasury is expected to announce details of £17bn of energy infrastructure projects, including power plants, gas projects and fuelling stations.