Archbishop calls for end of ‘blight on conscience’

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HIGH youth unemployment and the failure to reform social care for the elderly more quickly are “a blight on our nation’s conscience”, the Archbishop of York said yesterday.

Dr John Sentamu chose the issues as examples of what had been “a difficult year for many of us” as he delivered BBC Radio 4’s Thought for the Day.

And he appealed for people to help others in need through volunteering and helping charities.

“We have faced many challenges assailing us on all fronts. This has left many people worried about the future.

Sadly, we are ending the year with a blight on our nation’s conscience: a million unemployed young people and the snail’s pace towards finding a long-term solution for the social welfare of older people.” The senior cleric, who has been outspoken in his recent criticism of consumerism and the growing divide between the country’s rich and poor, said that he hoped the New Year would usher in “a rediscovery of the Christian virtue of hope, coupled with faith and love” and a search for “an invincible goodwill towards others, no matter who they are or what they do to us”.

“As a country, may we recover genuine support of others in practical ways,” he said – citing the example of his own charity Acts 435 paying for an elderly woman to put her heating back on.

“No matter who we are, the one thing we can give is ourselves, selflessly. Every individual has the ability to transform and change and that is true of us collectively, as a nation. So let’s take the opportunity the New Year gives us to become what we all could be.”