THE Shadow Pensions Secretary has backed calls in Bolton and Bury to save debt advice services.

Jonathan Ashworth MP, who came to Bury and Bolton to lend a hand to the lobbying efforts of Labour's Cllr Kevin Peel, is calling on local MPs to support the campaign to protect face-to-face debt advice, due to be cut by more than half under government proposals.

Bury Council is also set to debate a motion this week to save debt advice services for residents in the two boroughs.

Mr Ashworth said: “We’ve got to get the MPs in the area to take their heads out of the sand and support this campaign to maintain face-to-face debt advice in Bolton and Bury because it’s so important when people are struggling that they get that specialist help.”

Cllr Peel, a trustee of Citizen's Advice, whose efforts have previously received the backing of Bolton South East MP Yasmin Qureshi, has been left disappointed by the lack of response from local Conservative MPs.

He said: “This affects people in every part of Bury and Bolton and I would urge all councillors to back the campaign. If our MPs won’t stand up for local debt advice services, we must.”