Friendship and community are both crucial for us as people to live fulfilled lives.

As the saying goes, “no man is an island.” We need the support of others to share both the joys and difficulties of life.

Ironically, in an age of increased digital connectivity we as a nation have lost that sense of physical community, leaving many people feeling alone.

Sadly, isolation and loneliness are already a heartbreaking concern amongst many of our older population.

Last week, Age Cymru highlighted the issue that the reduction of bus services in Wales could further increase this sense of loneliness and isolation particularly amongst older people.

This reduction of these bus services is a result of the reduction of long-term funding from the Labour Government in Cardiff Bay.

According to the Confederation of Passenger Transport Cymru has said that up to a quarter of bus services in Wales could be cut if there is no long-term government funding provided.

For many older people in particular, buses and public transport are the only way to get around, go into town, visit friends or lead an independent life.

The charity has called on the Welsh Government, local authorities and bus operators to work together to find a long term and sustainable solution to support community access across Wales.

I sincerely hope that this solution can be found.

Sadly, as a largely rural community, the people of Monmouthshire could be heavily affected by the reduction of services with many rural communities across Wales being disproportionately affected by these cuts.

I am proud of the Conservative Councillors in Monmouthshire who have worked tirelessly in holding the council to account, pushing for the retention of bus services across Monmouth.

Councillor Richard John made an impassioned speech highlighting the vital need to save bus routes and the important role they play across rural communities, and I couldn’t agree more.

If the Labour Welsh Government is sincere about its desire to tackle climate change and reduce loneliness in Wales, we must see Ministers reach an agreement with bus operators and local councils.

The time for empty rhetoric is long gone. We need to see decisive action.