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Bridgend Politics South Wales

Locals tell politicians what they want to see after the 2024 elections

Bridgend Town Centre (pic: Lewis Smith)

THE AREA of Bridgend, located around 20 miles from Wales’ capital city, is one of both immense beauty and contrast.

From its close-knit communities set among picturesque hills to its seaside towns and villages known as some of the most popular tourist attractions in Wales there is no shortage of variety in terms of people or places for the electoral constituency placed at the geographical heart of south Wales.

However it is also a place that has faced its fair share of issues in recent years ranging from growing issues with homelessness to dwindling footfall in its town centre as well as a number of major employers such as Ford and American medical manufacturing firm Zimmer Biomet leaving the area.

Speaking to residents in the town centre ahead of the coming general election many said there was simply a lack of interest when it came to politics in the Bridgend parliamentary seat, which previously voted for Conservative member Jamie Wallis in 2019.

However for others they said that tackling a number of key issues faced both nationally and locally will play a major part in the success or failure of any new government which takes office after July 4.

“At the moment times are hard for a lot of people right across the country and I think we need to see some changes regardless of who wins the election,” said Robert Abraham who runs a stall in the local Bridgend market.

“We really want someone to come in and stimulate the economy and create jobs because it can all have a knock-on effect. As it stands the cost of living is so high in this country and when people are struggling to pay their bills and mortgages they have a lot less disposable cash to come and spend in places like the town centre, which in turn impacts the local businesses.”

Hayley Davies also runs a stall in the market and said: “The two biggest priorities for me both locally and on a national scale would be in looking after the NHS, particularly in getting waiting times down, and helping improve the cost of living crisis for people as the price of everything has gone up over the last few years.

“Improving the situation for younger people across the country should also be high on the list of things to do as it an incredibly difficult time for them at the moment, especially when it comes to getting on the housing ladder as the prices make it virtually impossible for younger first-time buyers.”

Hayley Davies Of Bridgend Story on Bridgend before elections (Pic: Lewis Smith)

Meg Crockett, 23, thought protection of the NHS and housing were also key issues, saying: “For me as a younger person I definitely want to see more funding going in to secure the future of the NHS and seeing a government give out cash to areas where it really helps people is important.

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“Housing is definitely a big concern for me as well because at the moment you need to have thousands saved to be able to get on the housing ladder and at this rate if it stays the same I’ll be living at home with my parents until I’m in my 40s.”

Meg Crockett Of Bridgend Bridgend election story (Pic: Lewis Smith)

Matthew Davies runs a clothing store in Bridgend and says he would like to see investment and brave decisions moving forward. He said: “For me the priority for both Wales and Bridgend would be to get more investment in to things such as infrastructure, schools, and hospitals as well as new industry so we can create more jobs. My only concern at the moment would be where that is going to come from.”

Chris Pritchard of Brackla added: “For me I want to see investment made in to smaller towns like Bridgend to create more jobs and grow the economy. At the moment the increased costs on everything means people have less money to spend and so the footfall here is constantly decreasing. We’ve noticed it go quieter even in the last six months so we just hope the pressures put on people will start to ease off and things can pick up.”

Chris Pritchard Bridgend Market (Pic: Lewis Smith)

The candidates standing in Bridgend for the general election in 2024:

  • Anita Boateng (Conservatives)
  • Iolo Caudy (Plaid Cymru)
  • Debra Ann Cooper (Green Party)
  • Chris Elmore (Labour)
  • Mark John (Independent)
  • Caroline Jones (Reform UK)

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