Archbishops of Canterbury and York raise election concerns in letter

Credit: PA

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have raised concerns over poverty, housing, the NHS and education in a General Election letter to churchgoers.

The three-page letter calls for "cohesion, courage and stability" to help close the divisions caused by the political turbulence of recent years.

It also said Christians have an "obligation" to participate in the election and to pray for those standing for office.

Education must be "for all" and the National Health Service must be allowed to flourish, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Archbishop of York John Sentamu told parishioners.

It calls on politicians to give refugees and migrants a "generous and hospitable" welcome but says that they should not be "deaf to the legitimate concerns" about the impact of immigration on communities.

Church leaders have released a pre-election letter to churchgoers. Credit: PA

Their letter also seemingly refers to the future of the UK after it leaves the EU.

It states the election "is being contested against the backdrop of deep and profound questions of identity.

"Opportunities to renew and re-imagine our shared values as a country and a United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland only come around every few generations. We are in such a time.

"Our Christian heritage, our current choices and our obligations to future generations and to God's world will all play a shaping role.

"If our shared British values are to carry the weight of where we now stand and the challenges ahead of us, they must have at their core, cohesion, courage and stability."

The archbishops highlight the importance of "education for all, the need for urgent and serious solutions to our housing challenges, the importance of creating communities as well as buildings, and a confident and flourishing health service that gives support to all - especially the vulnerable - not least at the beginning and end of life."

The letter also calls for a "just economy" and warns about the dangers of an economy that is over-reliant on debt and "risks crushing those who take on too much".

The archbishops also called for parliamentary candidates not to exploit the religious faith of other candidates.

The Church of England was accused of trying to influence voters when it published a letter to parishioners in the run-up to the 2015 General Election.

Critics claimed the 53-page document, which called for a review of nuclear deterrence, was biased towards Labour.