UK

Archbishop Justin Welby voices concern over UK direction

Justin Welby Image copyright PA Media

The Archbishop of Canterbury has said he is concerned about the direction the UK is travelling in, citing an increase in homelessness and a decline in tolerance toward minority groups.

Justin Welby was speaking to the Big Issue magazine for its Christmas edition, which is published on Monday.

He said that in the last decade rough sleeping, use of food banks and debt counselling services had worsened.

He also said people's tolerance for minority groups had decreased.

Responding to a range of questions, including whether atheists were welcome in Church and the potential impact of a no-deal Brexit, Archbishop Welby said the situation for vulnerable people in the country had become worse over the last 10 years.

"I'm not saying we are in a crisis", he said. "I'm just saying the direction of travel is not what we want."

Archbishop Welby was also asked about the controversy involving the Duke of York's ties to Jeffrey Epstein.

He refused to comment on any particular member of the Royal Family, but said it was wrong to expect them to be "superhuman saints".

The interview - which was conducted before last Thursday's general election - concluded with the Archbishop quoting from the First Letter of John in the New Testament, which says that "perfect love casts out fear".

He said that people should reject fear and, instead, accept that love of God which - he said - "changes the world dramatically".

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