Assembly Member Adam Price has called on the Welsh Government to ensure the recommendations made in the Our Valleys, Our Future report produced by the South Wales Valleys Taskforce are extended to see the Amman and Gwendraeth Valleys included in Welsh Government economic plans.
The Our Valleys, Our Future report, launched by the Welsh Government last week, established six towns to act as economic hubs for a wider economic strategy delivering economic growth. While aiming to address chronic issues such as poverty, the report failed to extend the areas covered further westwards than the Neath Valleys, ignoring the extensive challenges faced in the Amman and Gwendraeth.
The Plaid Cymru AM has urged the Chair of the Taskforce, Alun Davies AM, who is also the Welsh Government's Minister for the Welsh Language, to recognise the opportunities that extending the work of the taskforce would have in strengthening and promoting the Welsh language.
Adam Price calls for the creation of a new economic hub, located in the western valleys, in addition to the six already outlined, to help deliver economic growth for the surrounding communities.
With the Welsh Government recently outlining in its Cymraeg 2050 proposals a commitment to tying efforts to strengthen the Welsh language with economic growth and government investment, Adam Price AM says the creation of a new hub in the Amman and Gwendraeth area would complement both objectives – promoting economic growth and boosting the language.
Carmarthen East and Dinefwr AM, Adam Price said:
"The recent report on improving the economic fortunes of the south Wales valleys is to be welcomed, of course. It is a comprehensive piece of work which, if properly implemented, can deliver important and tangible benefits to the areas in which they are focused.
"I do however think the Welsh Government needs to expand its work and ensure the western valley communities of the Amman and Gwendraeth are included in its future plans if we are to properly tackle the shocking levels of poverty and inequality.
"During the days of the One Wales Coalition Government of Plaid Cymru and Labour, we got to work on a specific Western Valleys Strategy. This new Labour-only government cannot be allowed to ignore the vital work which is required to improve the lot of our communities here in the west of Wales.
"As the Welsh Government sets out to establish six economic hubs in the south Wales valleys, I'm convinced there is the opportunity to extend this work into Carmarthenshire and complement another challenging objective of helping to reach 1 million Welsh speakers.
"The Welsh Government has made much of its commitment to securing the future of the Welsh language. Establishing a seventh economic hub in the Western Valleys would bring a dynamic edge to economic strategy in Wales, tying our national language and heritage with economic vision."