Created in 1918, the parliamentary seat of Aberavon has been held by Labour since its formation and the current MP is Dr Hywel Francis who was first elected in 2001. At the creation of the National Assembly for Wales, in 1999, the Aberavon constituency has also been represented by Labour at the Senedd with its first Assembly Member being Dr Brian Gibbons, who stood down in 2011 after representing Aberavon for 3 terms.
We have a proud industrial heritage which has shaped our history, our landscape and, on a wider scale, the steel manufactured here and the coal mined here have helped shape the world. At the heart of the great legacy of Aberavon are the people in our community: People such as, the late Richard Burton, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Mavis Nicholson, Michael Sheen and a comedian Rob Brydon, who have been at the forefront of art and entertainment. Similarly, among the distinguished previous politicians have been Labour’s first ever Prime Minister, Ramsey Macdonald (1922-29), and Sir John Morris (1959-2001) who served as Secretary of State for Wales and Attorney General. At the Assembly, Dr Gibbons (1999-2011) served as a Minister in the Welsh Government for 9 years.
The constituency is located within the eastern part of Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council. Whilst the area is famed for its urban and industrial heritage, it also includes many areas of great natural beauty including the historic Margam Park, the sub-Alpine Afan Valley and the historically important industrial towns of Briton Ferry, Skewen, Cwmafan and Taibach. In the Upper Afan Valley, the Afan Forest Park is developing a growing reputation for mountain biking, walking and a variety of other outdoor pursuits. It also is home to the Welsh Miners Museum. For more information on visiting Neath Port Talbot go to www.neath-porttalbot.gov.uk/tourism/
The traditional industry of steel still plays an important role in Aberavon. Tata Steel remains a major employer with a workforce of over 3,000. Most industrial activity is located at the western end of Port Talbot where the Baglan Industrial Estate and the new flagship Baglan Energy Park are located. Similarly, the development of Harbour Way promises to open up the old docklands area for reclamation and development, leading to exciting opportunities for Aberavon. The industrial reclamation work at Llandarcy, a former BP Refinery site, is already leading to new sports, leisure and business opportunities which are expected to grow over the next five to ten years. I’m delighted to say that our rugby club and football teams are some of the best in Wales. In fact, Port Talbot is the only town in Wales to boasts two League of Wales Premier sides, Port Talbot FC and Afan Lido. They are well supported by many local clubs throughout the locality. The constituency is also home to a number of boxing clubs which regularly produce a stream of Welsh internationals.
The current number of electors in the Aberavon constituency is 51,034 and Welsh is spoken by over 11% of the population. Aberavon is in the EU Convergence Funding area of West Wales and the Valleys and several of the thirteen electoral wards in the constituency are part of the National Assembly’s Communities First programme. Social and economic renewal is a major challenge throughout the constituency and one which is incredibly important to me as Assembly member for the area.