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World News

Church of England scraps plan for racial justice officers due to 'costs'

by Press Association

The Church of England has abandoned a proposal to appoint 42 "racial justice officers" across the country, one of the recommendations from its report on tackling racism in the institution.

The Archbishops' Anti-Racism Taskforce in April made 47 proposals to address institutional racism and improve diversity in an attempt to end a "rut of inaction" spanning several decades, with the Archbishop of Canterbury conceding people of colour had been "bullied, overlooked, undermined and excluded" within the Church.

With the taskforce warning a failure to act against racism would convince people the Church was "not serious about racial sin", one recommendation was for paid, full-time racial justice officers to be employed in every diocese for a five-year term.

However, the idea has been scrapped, reportedly due to financial reasons.

The Daily Telegraph reports that when asked about the idea by a lay church member, the Archbishop of York, the Rt Rev Stephen Cottrell, said: "The Archbishops' Council has concluded that it cannot support this recommendation in this formulation at this time, given the need to reduce costs in diocesan and national administration.

"The council understands the rationale for this recommendation and will do more work on how best to support racial justice across the country through a network of officers who would be suited to different contexts.

"The council will look at whether and how this might be supported in a different way as part of looking at funding priorities for the next [three years]."

The taskforce's other recommendations included that shortlists for senior clergy should include at least one appointable minority ethnic candidate by September, with an expectation this occurs for all other jobs in the Church.

It is also calling for annual reporting on recruitment so bodies must provide "action or explain" as well as mandatory training in all dioceses to embed anti-racism practices.

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