Local authorities and the Welsh Government must take radical action to tackle growing social isolation and economic inequality, according to Garnant councillor Kevin Madge.

Improvements to public transport with an increase in subsidised services would address many of the key issues faced by families struggling in the climate of austerity, Cllr Madge has claimed.

He also believes such a move would also offer a significant boost to failing town centres grappling with falling footfall, such as Ammanford.

“The impact of reduced public transport services in an area like this is immense – and the cost of using those services that remain are beyond the means of many people,” said Cllr Madge.

“I know of mothers who are on the breadline, but who cannot afford the bus fare into Ammanford to use the foodbank and get the help they need to feed their children. That cannot be acceptable.

“I also know people who are being forced to pay upwards of £80 per week to visit loved ones in hospital in Glangwili and Prince Philip hospitals. That is just not right.

“The lack of affordable public transport in the Amman valley is damaging the economic viability of our communities and making life more and more difficult for ordinary people.”

Cllr Madge said that the reduction in services – and the failure of government and local authority to subside services is helping to kill off small towns.

“During the day we see buses going up band down the valley that are empty because people do not have the money to use them,” he said.

“As well as leaving those people in need, it also has a negative impact on Ammanford, with less people going into town.

“If people could get into Ammanford easily and cheaply, then they would go. That in turn would see a boost to the shops in the town.

“Public transport has been cut back much too far and bus services are simply not up to getting people where they need to go anymore.

“People cannot even use the to and from work because those services no longer exist.

“There are no buses back up the valley on a Friday and Saturday evening, and the last bus from Carmarthen to Ammanford is at 8.15pm.

“Ammanford to the Twyn in Garnant is only four-and-a-half miles, but the cost of a taxi is £14.50. People simply cannot afford that.

“It means that the days of people from further up the valley heading into Ammanford for a night out are over.

“We need to subside buses to help companies provide a service people can use.

“The number one problem we are facing in society today is that of social isolation – and one way we can tackle that is by offering people a public transport service that is both affordable and convenient.

“We need to take a radical look at how we tackle poverty and isolation. We need to use our resources to make a difference.”