Current Issues

I am currently involved with a range of policy issues of a local, national and global nature. To find out more please see below:

Commemorating Richard Burton

Throughout my time as Member of Parliament I have campaigned to get proper recognition for stage and screen Richard Burton who was born in Pontrhydyfen when it was part of the Aberavon constituency.

I chair the Swansea University’s Richard Burton Advisory Board and I have assisted in establishing its Richard Burton Archives and the Annual Richard Burton Annual Lecture which is held on alternate years in Port Talbot and Swansea.

I have also supported the development of the Richard Burton Trail in Cwmafan and Pontrhydyfen (which will eventually include Taibach), the Commemorative bench in Cwmafan and the Richard Burton Room in Afan Lodge Hotel.

I am currently discussing ways of encouraging using Richard Burton’s memory to assist in greater appreciation of reading and libraries.

Access to Port Talbot Parkway railway station

I have been involved in seeking to improve access to Port Talbot Parkway railway station for people with disabilities and other rail users. He presented a petition to Arriva Trains Wales which was signed by nearly 2,000 people and supported by a wide range of disability and community organisations.

Following a meeting with senior representatives of Arriva Trains Wales very positive steps are being taken to resolve the issue of access.

I am grateful to all those who have supported the campaign particularly the disability and community organisations and the Equality and Human Rights Commission in Wales.

I am pleased that the long overdue improvements are going ahead and work will start very soon.

Upper Afan Valley : Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

I believe we should protect the special character of many of our communities, ecologically, visually and physically. Considerable progress has been made in recent years to heal the damage inflicted by the exploitation of coal, particularly with the creation of the Afan Forest Park, the Glyncorrwg Ponds project, the Mountain Bike Centre, and the South Wales Miners’ Museum.

Tourism and leisure are now a major feature of our local communities and I wish to enhance their progress through the creation of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty for the Upper Afan Valley.

As active, caring, local citizens, I believe that it is our responsibility and our right to defend places of historical interest and natural beauty. I would also wish to enhance access to our mountain areas by cycleways and walkways as encouraged by the Sustrans project.

I continue to work for greater dialogue between educational bodies, local businesses, Energy Companies and local communities to ensure our environment is improved and the quality of life is enhanced.

Disability Issues

As Vice Chair of the All Party Carers’ Group I am raising disability issues and as Vice Chair of the new All Party Down’s Syndrome Group I am campaigning with Parliamentary colleagues to improve the health and educational opportunities for Down’s Syndrome children and adults.

Clean Air Charter for Port Talbot

I have been associated with many local environmental campaigns. I have launched with Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council a pioneering Clean Air Charter. I am delighted that several local companies including Corus have endorsed the Charter. I am hoping that Swansea University will undertake some much needed research into local pollution levels.

Carers (1) the 2011 Census (2) Benefits

This issue is regarding the 2011 Census and the inclusion of questions on carers. The 2001 Census included questions on carers and this had a significant impact of assessing the numbers of carers in the UK and the number of hours each individual gave to caring and the ages of carers. As chair of the All Party Carers Group I have had several Ministerial meetings on this crucial subject and I am pleased to report that the campaign has ended in success.

My Parliamentary Group is also campaigning to improve carers’ benefits particularly those who are retired and working carers.

Local and part-time and full-time Higher Education

I am actively involved in promoting the proposed second science and innovation campus of Swansea University which will be located entirely within my constituency on the old BP site at Jersey Marine and will receive its first students in 2015.

I have participated in Debates and held meetings with Ministers in support of part-time students in Higher Education and work particularly closely with Birkbeck College and the Open University and my former University at Swansea.

I have recently been made patron of SAILS (Swansea Academy of Incentivity and Learning Support) whose objects is to raise awareness of the advantages of higher education with local schools and communities.

Human Rights

As Chair of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights I have led enquiries into extradition, independent living for disabled people and policing protest.

Preserving the Brunel Tower and Dock

Hywel Francis meets with the Brunel Tower CommitteeThe local group have worked together to preserve the 150 year old tower designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel which is situated at Briton Ferry near Port Talbot. The Tower was opened in 1861 and it served the tinplate, iron and steel works that grew up in the area in the industrial revolution. It is now a listed building. I am the Honorary President of this worthwhile heritage campaign.


Return to the top of the page
Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional Level Double-A Conformance to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0