LABOUR leader Jeremy Corbyn heard older people’s concerns about Council cuts to community services during a visit to Shipley today.

Mr Corbyn chatted with members of an older people’s cook-and-eat club at the Kirkgate Centre and joined a painting class for the over-50s, even putting brush to canvas to create an artwork of his own.

In a round-table discussion with the cook-and-eat club, 74-year-old Shipley man John Holmes raised the issue of public toilets closing down across the district, as well as funding being cut to community centres.

He said: “Perhaps you could have a word with Bradford Council.”

Mr Corbyn replied by saying he agreed that “public toilets are a huge issue”.

Speaking afterwards to the Telegraph & Argus, the Labour leader said: "I think the points he made were both very important.

"The public toilets issue is actually pretty serious. All over the country, councils have closed public toilets."

He said this led to "people urinating in the street late at night and you often end up with serious discomfort for pregnant women or for older people".

He added: "I think there has to be a review of this and it should be perhaps made a statutory obligation that local authorities do provide adequate public toilets in town centres."

On the issue of community centres, Mr Corbyn said they gave a huge benefit for "a pretty small investment".

He said: "I talked to Susan [Hinchcliffe] earlier, the leader of the Council, about this. They are up against it with massive budget cuts and they have to make some horrible decisions.

"I would obviously urge all the councils to try to maintain what I call the 'social infrastructure' of communities - that's libraries and community centres."

But he said the responsibility ultimately lay with central Government, which he said was "making local authorities pay for the banking crisis".

Mr Holmes told the T&A that he believed outlying towns were getting a raw deal from Bradford Council, saying central Bradford was getting a lights show this weekend when Shipley market had had its toilets closed.

He said: "Bradford seems to be the worst council in Britain."

Shipley is one of a handful of Yorkshire seats which will be crucial for Labour to win if Mr Corbyn is going to walk into 10 Downing Street.

He has been touring target seats around the country, with the party in permanent campaign mode in readiness for any General Election.

Mr Corbyn took aim at the Shipley seat's incumbent, Conservative Philip Davies, calling him "an obsessive" for spending his Friday mornings in Parliament blocking "progressive bits of private members' bills".

He said: "He seems to enjoy doing that, which I think is unfortunate."

And he suggested Mr Davies might want to spend his Friday mornings in Shipley instead.

But Mr Davies hit back, accusing Mr Corbyn of hypocrisy.

He told the T&A: "Jeremy Corbyn, funnily enough, has made a bit of a career himself out of making long speeches to block legislation he doesn't like, so I don't know whether that's another part of his political history he's forgotten about."

The Labour leader then went on to a behind-closed-doors meeting with 100 party members at Saltaire’s Victoria Hall, on a visit designed to highlight its commitment to ploughing £8bn into social care and creating a National Care Service, to complement the National Health Service.

But Mr Davies said if Mr Corbyn became Prime Minister, "there would be a run on the pound and an economic shock".


He said: "It's pretty obvious to anyone else they wouldn't have any money to do all these things.

"They say all sorts of things before an election, then after the election they come clean and say they can't afford it.

"I would say: beware Marxists bearing gifts."