Archbishop Justin Welby said the UK needs a financial centre for the good of all in his speech at the Lord Mayor's Banquet at London's Guildhall last night.
My Lord Mayor, My Late Lord Mayor, Prime Minister, Ladies and Gentlemen:
It is a great privilege to rise to pay tribute to Alan’s exceptional service as Lord Mayor over the past year. His background in financial services, coupled with his commitment to the common good has been evident during his year, suitably themed: ‘Creating Wealth, Giving Time, Supporting People’.
Working with Gilly, Alan’s charitable appeal has touched the lives of many. In focusing on raising money for Scope and Mencap, the driving force behind the appeal has been to support those who “work tirelessly to make the world a place where disabled people can fully participate”.
This commitment to creating a society where all can flourish is deeply significant, and one that I hope will continue through the City and beyond.
The theme of Alan’s year as Late Lord Mayor begins with ‘Creating Wealth’. Without wealth creation, the City would not be the centre of the financial world. The City plays a profoundly important role in the well-being of our economy and Alan’s inexhaustible advocacy for the City as he has travelled the globe has been vital.
Yet Alan has always seen wealth creation has having a moral foundation and he has constantly emphasised the responsibilities that go with the privilege of being the world's pre-eminent, most creative, most fascinating and most brilliant financial centre.
Alan has rightly and loudly blown the trumpet of the City as a Centre of generosity, and criticised its failure to let people know what it does. The generosity is embedded in its culture and history.
Next month, I am recording my New Year’s address at Marsh Academy in my diocese. The Academy’s sponsor is the Skinners’ Company (of which I have been a Liveryman for some years), who are leading the Academy to remarkable achievements in both academic and non-academic aspects of education, developing relationships with other schools and business and transforming the lives of young people in one of the most deprived and socially complex parts of the country.
This is just one of countless examples of the Guilds being a force for good in society, and we should be mindful of their positive impact far beyond the City.
Another area of focus has been on diversity in the workforce. I have mentioned his commitment to supporting people with disabilities. He has also spoken of the need to “better harness and deploy a wider range of abilities and skills” and “include and support every part of society”. The work of the City as seen both by Alan and Fiona, his predecessor, on diversity has been a real challenge to the church!
Alan, you have embodied your theme for the year – ‘Creating Wealth, Giving Time, Supporting People’ – with remarkable dedication and excellence. Gilly’s tireless hard work must also be recognised; for example, she swam five kilometres earlier in the year to raise over £14,000 for the Appeal. I am sure that both of you are looking forward to a well-deserved rest after what has been a outstanding year, and that Alan, you will have more time to pursue your loves of tennis, golf and bridge.
Thank you for your service to the City this year, the creativity you have brought to the role, the time you have invested in the City and its people, and the support you have given to so many people across society.
As we have already heard in a stirring speech from the Prime Minister these last days have re-emphasised the need for a society that is strong and courageous, facing a demonic cult with the integrity, vision and dedication of the Judaeo Christian tradition that is the basis of the City.
We need a financial centre that breaks down barriers between peoples, that is evidently moral and for the good of all, that deploys its vast power for the common good, that denies fear a place, and upholds hope. Alan, in your career you have stood for these virtues and we are lucky to have had you in post this year.