THE Gwendraeth and Amman Valleys are being included in the Welsh Government’s Valleys Taskforce, the Deputy Economy Minister and Transport Lee Waters has announced.

“These valleys are culturally very much part of the South Wales coalfield and I’m delighted that we’ve been able to alter the boundaries to bring them into the Valleys Taskforce so that they can benefit from ongoing work to drive investment and opportunities” said Lee Waters.

“I got into politics to help the kinds of places I grew up in, so I am really pleased to announce we are extending the boundaries of the Valleys Taskforce to include the Gwendraeth and Amman Valleys” the AM for the Llanelli constituency added.

The announcement comes as the Valleys Taskforce announces a programme to bring empty homes back into use. Owners of houses that have been empty for more than a year in the Gwendraeth and Amman Valleys will be able to apply for a grant of up to £20,000 to bring the home back into use.

The £10 million project is based on a pilot in Rhondda Cynon Taf and is being rolled out across the south Wales valleys.

“Tackling the problem of empty houses helps improve the feel of an area as well as providing homes for families. The Rhondda Cynon Taf scheme has shown us that applicants are choosing local businesses to undertake the refurbishment work, keeping money in the community and improving employment prospects. We want to support and encourage this as we roll the scheme out.” Lee added.

Local member of parliament Nia Griffith said: “I am delighted that the Welsh Government recognises the importance of supporting the local economy in the Gwendraeth and Amman Valleys, and this announcement today is very good news for West Wales.”

Councillor for the Tycroes ward in the Amman valley, Tina Higgins said: “I welcome the announcement that the Amman and Gwendraeth Valleys are to be included in the Welsh Government Valleys Task Force area.

“This is extremely good news for the area. I look forward to supporting Lee Waters AM with this initiative and will be representing the views of residents in my ward whenever I can.”

Councillor Dorothy Jones, representing Llannon in the Gwendraeth valley said: “This is an exciting development for my ward and the Gwendraeth Valley. I hope that we can use this new status to deliver affordable housing based on local income for residents and improve employment prospects in the area.

“I’m glad our AM Lee Waters has been able to deliver such strong support for the area and I’m looking forward to working with him as the taskforce moves forward.”

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