Islwyn struggles for taste of prosperity
THE ISLWYN constituency has a population of 65,121 and encompasses three Valleys in Gwent.
On the eastern side, Crumlin, Newbridge, Abercarn, Cwmcarn, Risca and Pontymister lie in the Ebbw Valley.
Blackwood, Pontllanfraith, Oakdale, Markham, Argoed, Hollybush, Wyllie, Ynysddu, Cwmfellinfach, Wattsville and Cross Keys lie in the central Sirhowy Valley.
In the west is the Rhymney Valley and the towns of Pengam, Fleur de Lys and Britannia.
The seat has a rich mining past but the last pit closed in Oakdale in 1989 and the thousands of job losses hit the area hard.
Employment opportunities in the constituency now include companies making fast food, microchips, carpets, communications systems and electronics.
But it continues to suffer from job redundancies and in recent weeks it was announced that more than 150 jobs will go at both the G Costa factory in Abercarn and the Solectron plant in Cwmcarn.
Unemployment in the whole of the Caerphilly borough is 5.5 per cent - equal to the UK average - but Islwyn has pockets of deprivation.
Trinant, Pentwyn, Cwmnantgwynt and Pantside, Newbridge are all Communities First areas, with work going on to bring more opportunities in.
Trade centre Blackwood's bus station is currently undergoing a facelift, with a major regeneration project going on.
Other projects have included canal regeneration and a major new housing scheme in Risca.
The Sirhowy Enterprise Way scheme has also seen a major new road built across the valley.
The council is carrying out a school reorganisation programme because of surplus places across the borough.
Argoed Primary is under threat, with parents fiercely battling plans to shut it and send pupils to Markham Primary.
And Pontllanfraith Comprehensive has battled problems over the last year, with a teachers' strike over pay in 2006 and special measures being introduced in January.
The seat - which takes its name from a 19th-century Welsh language poet - forms part of the Caerphilly local authority area.