Archbishop Blasts British Energy Companies for Price Hikes

Right Rev. Justin Welby, bishop of Durham, was named the 105th archbishop of Canterbury. RNS photo courtesy Durham Cathedral

Less than three months after he promised to take on payday lenders and create alternative church credit unions, the archbishop of Canterbury condemned Britain’s energy companies for imposing huge price hikes that will hurt struggling families.

Justin Welby said over the weekend that the six most powerful energy supply companies have a “massive” moral duty beyond squeezing customers for maximum profits. The largest of them, British Gas, whose parent company is called Centrica, recorded a 2.7 billion pound ($4.37 billion) profit last year.

The archbishop — a former oil trader — challenged the company’s huge markup of around 9.2 percent.

Following Scandal, Archbishop Justin Welby Offers to Open Credit Unions

Photo courtesy RNS/Total Politics.

The cover of Total Politics. Photo courtesy RNS/Total Politics.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said he was embarrassed and irritated following revelations that the Church of England has invested millions of pounds in a company that financially backs England’s leading payday lending company, Wonga.

Welby told the BBC: “We must find out why this happened and then make sure that it never happens again.”

The Financial Times broke the news that the Church of England invested several million pounds in Accel Partners, the U.S. venture capital company that led to the launch of Wonga, which dominates the 2 billion pound payday lending market in England. Wonga charges annual percentage rates of more than 5,000 percent.