EXPERTS gathered to discuss how to maximise the benefits of the A465 Heads of the Valleys road project.

Chiefs from business, house building and the public sector joined the Industrial Communities Alliance, the Bevan Foundation and the cabinet secretary for local government and public services Alun Davies yesterday to talk about how to maximise the benefits of the dualling of the A465 Heads of the Valleys road.

The meeting also discussed the ambitious plans published by the ministerial taskforce for the South Wales Valleys, which is chaired by Alun Davies.

He said: "The A465 – the Heads of the Valleys road – is one of the key east-west strategic links in Wales. Part of the Trans-European Road Network, it is an international gateway for our economy in South Wales.

"When the dualling is complete, there will be a continuous dual carriageway from the M4 along the A465 to the midlands and beyond.

"We are working to make the most of the opportunities from this, building on the Valleys Taskforce’s ambitious plans, including a commitment to close the employment gap between the South Wales Valleys and the rest of Wales.

"This means ensuring projects like this include employment and training opportunities for the local community and that Welsh companies can compete for sub-contracts. The cabinet secretary for economy Ken Skates has also been clear through the new Economic Action Plan that he wants to see more public investment with a social purpose of this kind in the Welsh economy over the next few years."