Higher taxes may be needed for better services, says Archbishop

media captionThe Archbishop of Wales says better services will mean higher taxes

The Church in Wales may have to argue that better public services require people to pay "a bit more tax", the Archbishop of Wales has said.

The Most Rev John Davies warned there were "dwindling services" and a "disintegration of communities".

He said the church could "give a voice" to "those who feel their lives are somehow being diminished by one sort of cut or squeeze after another".

Mr Davies was speaking to the BBC's Sunday Politics Wales programme.

Mr Davies, who was elected Archbishop of Wales last September, said Wales was "largely rural" and "not all about the cities".

He said: "More than that, it's in many, many places deeply rural, and there are dwindling services in many places, pressures on families, transport networking and so on as well as huge challenges in the urban areas.

"Poverty of different types in different places. An absence, so often, of community cohesion."

The church, Mr Davies said, needed to "speak out on behalf of people who can't speak out".

He said: "Perhaps we have to say, from time to time, uncomfortable things about 'if we want better services where's the money coming from?'

"Ultimately, I guess, it's going to come from people's pockets. You want better services, you may have to pay for them.

"We would have to say that public expenditure has to be carefully audited, we have to make sure that, yes, value for money is obtained.

"But I think, at the end of the day, if we want everything to be better, then probably we're going to have to be ready to pay for it as well.

"So, maybe a bit more tax."

Mr Davies, who was ordained 1984 after a career in law, said making such an argument "wouldn't be a party political statement".

Public services, he said, were "there to serve the public so the public will pay for them, out of its ability to pay."

"It has to be fair, of course it has to be fair," he added.

  • Sunday Politics Wales is on BBC One Wales at 11:00 BST on 25 March and available shortly after on BBC iPlayer

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