Plaid Cymru will today call on the Welsh Government to act on the deprivation and poverty in parts of the South Wales Valleys at a debate in the Senedd.
A motion put forward by Plaid Cymru AM, Elin Jones, will call on the government to support grassroots regeneration as well as state investment and intervention to improve Valley communities.
The debate aims to raise concerns about the problems in Valley communities and South Wales East AM, Lindsay Whittle, has spoken of the importance of ambition to transform the South Wales Valleys.
The Caerphilly-born AM said: “The Valleys for those of us who live there are the very heart and soul of the nation.
“I believe that ambition for the Valleys people is critical. Politicians must have the ambition to create a new society where our people can expect world class health, education and social services as well as economic and social prosperity.
“The Valleys have one-third of the population of Wales so what has happened over the past 20 years or so to any efforts to improve the lives of people in the valleys?
“The Heads of the Valleys programme – intended to be a key regeneration scheme – was scrapped just over a year ago. There was the Valleys Initiative before that and everyone now seems to be looking to the Valleys Regional Park to work wonders.
“We have known some very tough times in our history. We have paid the price of coal. There are tough times ahead but our resilience will pull us through but it should be more than that. We need vision, new ideas and thinking outside the box.”
Plaid Cymru specifically call for the Welsh Government to ensure there is enough affordable childcare for parent’s needs and ensure all unemployed people in the Valleys have access to apprenticeships or training.
Mt Whittle added: “Dylan Thomas described Swansea as a lovely, ugly town. There are parts of the Valleys where you could say the same but if you love Wales and the Valleys you love it all. I do. If I won the lottery I would live nowhere else in the world. It is where I belong.”