Advanced search Click here for the website of the current Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby

This is an archived website containing material relating to Dr Rowan Williams’ time as Archbishop of Canterbury, which ended on 31st December 2012

Skip Content

Society and the Economy

 The Archbishop believes strongly that every man and woman is made in God's image and each is of equal worth in His sight – and that the structures of society should therefore be for the benefit of everyone.

 In 2010 the Archbishop called together the first in a series of Symposia to look at the social and economic impact of the financial problems facing this country. In this section you can read the initial reports that came from that Symposium. In 2015, the Archbishop edited 'On Rock or Sand? Firm Foundations for Britain's Future' published by SPCK A free study guide to the book is also available.

In 2011, the Archbishop sponsored a new independent advisory body to examine matters of social justice in York. “The Fairness Commission” was tasked with preparing a report which would help inform the City of York Council on issues of fairness in preparation of the Council’s spending priorities review for 2012-2014. Following extensive consultation and assessment of evidence, the Fairness Commission made seven headline recommendations in its report, including to make York a Living Wage City. These recommendations have since been adopted by City of York Council and they will make a significant and long term impact on fairness in the city. 

In July 2013, the Archbishop became chair of a new, independent Commission on the future of the Living Wage.  At the launch of the Commission the Archbishop said: “The Living Wage offers us hope. It is a simple idea with profound implications for the lives of millions. Yet for too many people, the notion of being paid enough to live on remains an abstract concept. I am honoured to be chairing a Commission that will investigate how to build a strong future by paying the Living Wage to workers and, in so doing, build a fair and just society." The Living Wage Commission is an independent investigation into the future of the Living Wage. Over the course of 12 months, Commissioners will research and assess the evidence on the value of the Living Wage, barriers to its implementation and how these could be overcome.

The Church is active in many practical ways to support those in need. One of many practical projects is the Archbishop’s own charity Acts 435  – an online resource where people with money can help give to those with specific need. In March 2015, Acts 435 announced it had met its 5000th request.