In a special message for the Mail, the senior cleric, now Archbishop of York, said: “The people of Birmingham will always have a special place in my heart.
“The three years that I lived in the city, and served it as Bishop, were some of my happiest.
“That isn’t to say that there weren’t tough times too. I remember the collapse of MG Rover and the closure of the factory at Longbridge. It wasn’t just the loss of jobs that was hard to take. We were also seeing the end of an era for our proud manufacturing heritage.
“It is a scandal that even today the Longbridge workers are still waiting for the payments that they were promised.
“Whole communities have experienced genuine suffering and hardship – and I am afraid that, during this economic downturn, they will feel them again.
“We are living in difficult economic times where the decisions of a few will have an impact on many.
“There is a real human cost being felt by families across the Midlands.
“With news of the Government’s austerity measures coming into force, affecting those who may find themselves out of work or on benefits, and further cuts to public services being planned, things can seem very bleak indeed.”
Dr Sentamu, the second most senior cleric in the Church of England and one of four serving Rover trustees dating back to his spell in Birmingham from 2002 to 2005, has now launched a new national charity to help the poor.
Acts 435 deals with requests of up to £100, with three applications allowed annually per individual. People can apply for help at their church and requests are verified and posted online.