Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer says Bury "cannot afford" another Conservative government and that council funding must improve. 

The leader of the opposition decried “14 years of decline” under successive Tory governments during a visit to Bury College on Friday morning.

The Labour leader was joined by Bury North candidate James Frith, as he met with dentistry students and college staff to discuss his pledge to end NHS “dental deserts” and clear spiralling appointment backlogs across the health service.

Sir Keir said the council was “right” to campaign for a fairer funding deal for the borough that said local authorities do not receive the support they need from the government.

He said: “The council are right to say we have not had sufficient funding over the right period of time or the support from government that we need, we need to address that.”

Labour candidate for Bury North, James Frith, who has called for "long term reform" of the NHS, added that public services in Bury have been “essentially defunded” by the Conservative government.

He added: “I’m fully behind Bury’s Labour council demand for fair funding.

“Now, austerity continues at a pace for huge numbers of users of services and we are now down to the absolute bare bone and that’s the most vulnerable people in the most need of the attentions of a Labour government.”

Sir Keir added that the country had seen more than a decade of wane under successive Conservative governments and the UK was in need of “national renewal".

He said: “We’ve had 14 years of decline, Bury cannot afford five more years of this failure. We need an incoming Labour government which can usher in a decade of national renewal which will see these problems here address not just in the short term but in the long term in a way which is sustainable.”

During his visit, Sir Keir also discussed the state of public transport in the region, saying it has been “neglected” by central government.

However, he praised the introduction of the Bee Network by Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, which sees publicly controlled, integrated public transport operated throughout the region.

Mr Frith reiterated the importance of well-functioning public transport on economic growth and prospects for residents in Bury and the North West.

He said: “ Transport is a huge factor on whether or not someone can get on and get promoted or get the right commute to be able to get into Manchester or to get from Bury up to Ramsbottom and beyond.

“We’ve got to look at regional transport investment and get behind the leadership that Keir is showing around the growth argument, and that in Greater Manchester, [which mayor] Andy Burnham is showing with the Bee Network.”