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Aberdare voters share their thoughts and priories ahead of election

Aberdare Town Centre (Pic: Google Maps)

VOTERS in Aberdare have called on politicians to listen to what really matters to them ahead of the general election.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service asked people in Aberdare what their thoughts and priorities are ahead of the general election which takes place on Thursday, July 4.

A woman called Jade said none of the parties seem to be dealing with the issues that are important to her which makes her more reluctant to vote because she wonders who is she really voting for.

She said: “None of them seem to be tackling SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disability) that for me is a serious issue. Violence against women and girls is a serious issue. Family courts seems to be off every one’s radar. I’m very concerned about it.”

Jade also mentioned her concern about the discussion over getting disabled people back into the work and the types of work they are going in to saying that employers don’t make adjustments fearing that this could lead to burnout.

She also said there had been “mismanagement of spending” and that “the discrepancy between the rich and the poor has been getting wider”.

She said: “Gas and electricity prices have left people like me financially crippled.”

Jade also mentioned the difficulty for people with disabilities in finding housing, saying: “Are disabled people going to be homeless because people won’t rent to them?”

She said if they’re going to have money taken away from them as well they’re going to be destitute.

In terms of voting, she said: “I haven’t seen many policies or manifestos I can get on board with.”

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She said: “Women died for us to have the vote and I know how serious it is but how can you vote for a party you don’t believe in? I don’t see any party dealing with the stuff that matters to me.”

She added that this is probably the worst state this country has been in years and said “there have been cuts left right and centre” with services “cut within an inch of their life”.

Jade also mentioned the wastage in the NHS and said that “people bought into the lie” around Brexit and that “I am afraid this will happen again”.

Jade said: “It is the first time I have ever been as conflicted as I am.”

She said people are up in arms with the way politicians are talking about people with disabilities and that it is “costing them votes”.

One business owner in Aberdare market said there needs to be focus on the youth and he said the police need to deal with issues such as boy racers in the area.

He said energy prices are always an issue and that there also needs to more focus on growing businesses locally and bringing business back which has gone abroad.

And he also said that parties come up with policies but it is always the status quo and that “nothing ever changes apart from the colour of the ties”.

Angharad Hopkins said there was not a lot of help about if you want to build on an existing business.

She said she’d seen quite a few start-ups come and go but she’d like to see a bit of support to help keep established businesses going especially around upkeep, modernisation, and things like marketing.

She said they should be “helping people who want to be here and who fight for the town”.

Cheryl Gillett said that housing and the cost of living are among her main concerns saying the price of electricity had “gone crazy” but said she doesn’t know who would do the best job.

She said she is paying around £400 a month for energy and said none of the parties seem to have done any good but asked: “Can it get any worse?”

The new constituency of Merthyr Tydfil and Aberdare has been formed after recent boundary changes which will now see Wales represented by 32 MPs in Westminster after this election instead of 40.

This constituency brings together Merthyr Tydfil, which used to be part of a constituency with Rhymney, with Aberdare, which was formerly part of the Cynon Valley constituency.

Gerald Jones, who has served as Labour MP for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney since 2015, was selected ahead of Labour MP for the Cynon Valley since 2019 Beth Winter as the party’s candidate for the new constituency.

The size of the electorate in this constituency is over 76,000 and along with the towns of Merthyr Tydfil and Aberdare it covers wards such as Rhigos, Cyfartha, Aberaman South, Treharris, Merthyr Vale, and Dowlais as well as Gurnos, Park, and Penydarren.

In Merthyr Tydfil and Aberdare the candidates include Anthony Cole (Workers Party), Bob Davenport (Communist Party of Britain), Lorenzo De Gregori (independent), David Peter Griffin (Wales Green Party), Amanda Jenner (Welsh Conservative Party), Gerald Jones (Welsh Labour), Jade Smith (Welsh Liberal Democrats), Gareth Thomas (Reform UK), and Francis Daniel Whitefoot (Plaid Cymru).