Archbishop of Canterbury Ready to ‘Ruffle Feathers’

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said he is prepared to “ruffle feathers” in his new role, days after saying the U.K. was in a depression and calling for the break-up of at least one large bank.

In an interview with BBC Radio 4’s “The Week in Westminster,” Welby said that while he hadn’t had any complaints from the government about his April 23 comments, “they probably would have preferred it not said.”

“Do I mind ruffling feathers?” he said. “I think I do mind ruffling feathers, I don’t like ruffling feathers. But sometimes feathers get ruffled. I mean, that’s life.”

Even as data published on April 25 indicated U.K. economic activity rose more than expected in the first quarter, Welby said “we are still significantly below where we were in 2007.”

Welby, a former oil executive inaugurated as head of the Anglican church on March 21, said Britain’s finance industry was “so important and so full of very gifted people” that “how that behaves in relation to the common good is very key.”

The archbishop called for oversight of the banking industry by a professional body and an exam system for people who wish to work in it.

To contact the reporter on this story: Robert Hutton in London at rhutton1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net

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