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Church 'allowed to invest in payday loans'

The Archbishop of Canterbury is understood to be "furious" after the Church of England confirmed it invested indirectly in online lender Wonga.

It comes after the Most Reverend Justin Welby told Wonga the church would try to force it out of business by helping credit unions compete against the firm.

But the church later said it invested in funds that provided money for Wonga.

Speaking to the Today programme's John Humphrys, Jonathan Bartley, founder and co-director of Ekklesia, a Christian think tank based in London, explained that the Church of England is permitted by its policies to "invest in payday loans providing it is not more than 25% of their business".

"The 25% figure is exactly the same pornography, gambling and a whole range of other areas," he added.

He said that "the church tends to be the last to jump on the ethical band wagon" when it comes to decisions about enforcing ethical policies.

"The church really brings up the rear when it should be really perhaps setting the pace," he said.

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Friday 26 July 2013.

  • 26 Jul 2013