Rail and road connections in Furness have been described as ‘woeful’ by the shadow transport secretary and the Labour election candidate.

Shadow minister Andy McDonald criticised the Conservatives’ approach to upgrading transport infrastructure in the area - but refused to offer ‘empty promises’ to people in Furness.

Mr McDonald visited the infamous Dove Ford Farm bottleneck on the A595 near Kirkby along with Chris Altree, Labour’s election candidate for Barrow and Furness.

“We urgently need to improve rail and road connections in the area,” said Mr McDonald. “It is vital for education, the economy and people’s health.”

In 2017, the then transport secretary Chris Grayling visited the pinch point vowing to upgrade the road.

Since then Cumbria County Council has consulted with residents on a plan for a bypass.

Mr McDonald said he was aware of issues on the A595 as well as on the A590.

He said: “I’m pretty familiar with these roads and they are vital arteries. There are parts of the road network in this part of the world that have been neglected for too long and they’ve got to be remedied.”

The shadow minister said he wanted to ‘accelerate’ the proposed improvements to the A595 but refused to commit to upgrades for the A590.

“I’m not going to come up here and make all sorts of promises like Chris Grayling has done only for nothing to materialise,” he said.

Barrow and Furness Conservative candidate Simon Fell said: “Improving transport is key to improving our area and drawing in more business, families and tourism.

“It’s crucial that we improve our A-roads.

“That’s why we’ve announced a fund to do exactly that, alongside £2billion to fix potholes across the country.

“I also want to see improved bus services - which could be supported from the £25m in funds given to Barrow as part of the Towns Fund money.”

Other candidates standing for the Barrow and Furness ward in next month’s General Election are: Simon Fell, Conservative; Loraine Birchall, Liberal Democrats; Chris Loynes, Green Party and Ged McGrath, Brexit Party.