GREATER Greater Manchester's Mayor Andy Burnham has warned people to take a Tory promise to bring Metrolink to Bolton 'with a large pinch of salt',

On Wednesday transport secretary Grant Shapps came to the town to announce that if his party won Thursday's General Election he would start work on bringing a new tram line to it next year.

The Cabinet minister said he expected construction work to start on the extension in 2022 along with another new line to Stockport.

Mr Shapps said the bulk of the money would come from a new £4.2billion government Local Public Transport Fund to link up towns left out of other larger projects.

Former Leigh Labour MP Mr Burnham told the Bolton News: “On our estimates it will be a stretch, to say the least, to fund all of the projects the Government has listed from the money they have allocated.

"Voters need to take these announcements with a large pinch of salt.”

On Wednesday Mr Shapps said he was ‘absolutely’ committed to the project and he would be ‘disappointed’ if Mr Burnham did not support it.

The transport secretary said the line could be built on a mix of existing railway tracks and new ones.

Bolton South-East Labour candidate Sir David Crausby gave the news a cautious welcome but the party’s shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald branded it ‘empty promises’.

In January Mr Burnham and Mr Shapp's predecessor as transport secretary Chris Grayling expressed the hope that the Metrolink expansion to Bolton start within three years.

Mr Shapps said: “If we’re elected next week, we’ll then get working straight away. "