Business

Archbishop says morally hard to justify huge salaries

Archbishop Nichols

The leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales has told the BBC moral justification for multi-million-pound pay is "hard to find".

Archbishop Vincent Nichols delivered a message from the Pope to the Inclusive Capitalism conference in London.

He said: "You have to be willing to re-examine a system that seems to work very well for the few and not very well for the majority."

But he added that business was a "noble vocation".

Asked if there was any moral justification for paying anyone millions of pounds, the Archbishop said: "I would find it hard to find. I understand the argument of market mechanisms, we have to compete for the very best of talent, and we have to keep it in this country.

"[The Pope] does salute business leaders, he talks of their life as a 'noble vocation'. But it's a kind of conditional salute, it's conditional on their life being one of service, not self-service."

"As you would expect his [the Pope's] message is pretty challenging, because we know that his priorities lie with an attentiveness to the cry of the poor.

Asked if business leaders understood that inequality must be tackled, he replied: "I think many of the leaders do. They know they are in the midst of a crisis of trust, that people do have that corrosively cynical view of what business is for.

"I think the leaders do have that sensitivity and in many ways are engaged in trying to rethink their purpose."

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