Church in Wales bishops are urging people to “identify the common values” which make “for a healthy, prosperous, caring and inclusive society” in the nation after a cross-party report found Welsh independence “viable”.
Published by the Independent Commission on the Constitutional Future of Wales, the report suggested three different options for Wales’ constitutional future: independence, enhanced devolution and a federal UK.
Although the commission, co-chaired by Prof Laura McAllister and former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, refrained from endorsing any specific option, it cautioned that Wales would encounter a substantial challenge in the initial years to generate sufficient tax revenue for services. It cited the example of Ireland, which took 50 years and EU membership to achieve economic growth.
Sharing their thoughts on the report, the bishops in the Church in Wales said: “We note the report of the Independent Commission as a major contribution to the discussion about the future of our nation.
“As the debate goes forward, we hope all sides will recognise that different views can be sincerely held in good faith, and that all of Welsh society must strive to identify the common values and the shared vision which make for a healthy, prosperous, caring and inclusive society.
“The Church in Wales is active in every community across the country, and we know from our experiences and from clergy and church members across Wales, that we share a deep commitment to the welfare of our neighbours, of our communities, and the wider society in which we play a part.
“Wales faces many challenges, but it will face them all the more confidently if we build a strong consensus about the kind of society we want, and if we achieve a shared and respectful understanding in which people of all backgrounds and beliefs can contribute to the common good. For the Church in Wales, our Christian faith inspires us to support this work both with practical action and in prayer and we will continue to play our full part in the future developments of our society.”
The commission was included in the 2021 Labour manifesto, and its future steps remain uncertain.