Archbishop of Wales warns of 'Cinderella communities'

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Archbishop of Wales Dr Barry Morgan
Image caption,
Dr Barry Morgan said the cuts could lead to a 'disparity of provision'

The Archbishop of Wales has warned that cuts in public funding could result in a greater gulf between rich and poor.

Dr Barry Morgan said the UK Government's call for a 'big society' could be undermined by the lack of funding for grassroots organisations.

He warned of 'Cinderella communities' where poorer areas fall even further behind more prosperous places.

"My trouble with the 'big society' is that nobody has defined it precisely," he told BBC Wales.

"If that means taking care of your neighbour, your neighbourhood and community ... the church has always done that.

"The trouble is there are mixed messages coming out from the (UK) government because on the one hand they want people to become more involved in their communities and to do voluntary work - I have no problem at all with that.

Welsh life

"At the same time they are cutting local authority grants, and local authorities will look for the soft targets."

He added that it was the community groups and services such as playgroups and groups for the elderly that would suffer most.

"The government is saying localism is good …. the trouble with that is you could have a disparity of provision - there is that distinct possibility we'll create Cinderella communities.

"I'm calling for greater clarity about what they mean by the 'big society'.

"If you want more community based organisations and help then you can't afford to cut the relatively small grants that these organisations have."

Dr Morgan pointed out that the Anglican church could still play a key role in Welsh life, supporting 1,500 churches and 1,000 Christian communities.

"Probably the cleric is the last person to remain in some communities," he said.

"The teachers have gone, the doctors have gone, all professional people have gone.

"We don't just bus people in and out - we are there in the middle of it all."

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