BLAENAU Gwent is one of the most impoverished parts of Wales, and suffered greatly from the de-industrialisation of the second half of the 20th century.

The borough stretches from just north of Newbridge to Brynmawr and Tredegar, encompassing Ebbw Vale, Blaina and Abertillery.

Although it has the highest unemployment in Gwent, the lowest average pay in Wales and the shortest life expectancy in Gwent, Blaenau Gwent also has the lowest house prices in the whole of the UK.

In common with the majority of Gwent, it is dominated politically by Labour, and is represented in Parliament by Nick Smith and in the Senedd by Alun Davies, who was handed the role of minister for lifelong learning and the Welsh language following last year’s Assembly election.

The area also counts NHS founder Aneurin Bevan and Labour leader Michael Foot among its former MPs.

Blaenau Gwent has recently been perceived as something of a pro-Brexit heartland, with 62.03 per cent of voters in the borough voting Leave in last year’s referendum.

But Ukip has failed to capitalise on this and has not fielded a single candidate for next month’s election.

In 1960, 45 miners were killed in an explosion at a colliery in Six Bells, Abertillery. Today a 20 metre-tall monument named The Guardian overlooks the site.

Tredegar also has a history of having been the site of three major riots, the first in reaction to an election result in 1868, the second caused by inflamed tensions with the town’s Irish community in 1882 and the third in which Jewish homes and businesses were attacked in 1911.

Other notable landmarks in the area include the Grade II listed Bedwellty House and the Market Hall Cinema in Brynmawr, the oldest cinema in Wales.

County statistics:

Population: 69,544

Ethnicity: White - 98 per cent

Asian/Asian British - 0.7 per cent

Black/Black British - 0.4 per cent

Mixed - 0.6 per cent

Other - 0.3 per cent

Average weekly pay: £502

Unemployment: 6.7 per cent

Average house price: £78,474

Average life expectancy: 75.7 (men) 79.9 (women)

Number of Welsh speakers: 7.8 per cent

Number of businesses: 1,280

Current council makeup:

Number of seats: 42

Labour: 29

Independent: 12

Labour and Co-operative: 1