SHOPPERS have been urged to spend their cash in Neath's Victorian indoor market.
Regional AM Suzy Davies paid a visit there as part of a mission to find out what role markets play in the modern high street.
The Conservative member for South Wales West was in Neath following the launch of the party's new policy document called A Vision for the Welsh High Street.
"I was keen to visit the market as well because that has been the focal point of the town centre for many years," she said.
"And I was surprised by how much bustle there was, proving that markets are as relevant today as they ever were."
Mrs Davies, Shadow Welsh Minister for the Welsh language, Culture and Tourism, said that regenerating Welsh high streets was absolutely crucial.
"Far too many towns have been decimated by the spread of out-of-town shopping centres which offer free parking,'' she said.
"I commend Neath Port Talbot Council for resisting the insidious spread of such centres.
"I will be meeting the Neath town centre manager and others involved in regenerating the town to see what exciting plans they have to entice shoppers into Neath and to make the town centre relevant to all age groups."
During her visit she shopped at the Cariad Deli stall in the market run by Welsh speaker Nicola Thomas. "As Shadow Welsh Tourism Minister, I was pleased to see so many lovely foodstuffs including cheeses and wines on this stall," she said.
"I particularly like the way it has been done out with items displayed on old Welsh dressers.
"Visitors are always looking for quality items to take back with them and what could be better than a taste of Wales.
"I wish Nicola and all the other traders every success and would urge Neath shoppers to buy as much as they can from the small businesses which operate in the market.
"While supermarkets have their place, many fresh foods like meat, fish, vegetables and bread are often better from small traders who have their own local suppliers in many cases,'' she went on.
"Like everything else, it's a case of use it or lose it, so people need to make conscious choices about where they shop."