THE Liberal Democrats have announced their candidate for Greater Manchester's metro mayor.

Simon Lepori, a party campaigner in Trafford, will take on Labour’s Andy Burnham and the Conservatives’ Laura Evans in May.

He also stood for the Lib Dems in Wythenshawe and Sale East at the last General Election and came third behind the other two main parties, as Mike Kane was elected for Labour.

Mr Leopori believes the Liberal Democrats have often been under-estimated in the city region but they were looking to make gains in several areas in the 2021 polls, including Bolton.

On policing, he said: "We seem to keep throwing money at the issue, but Greater Manchester Police is not so much about money.

"Its staff is also demoralised, they’re down on staff numbers and the culture has never been questioned. We don’t have a handle on it.”

He is adamant that a different approach is needed when it comes to the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework.

Mr Leopori added: "Councils across Greater Manchester are allowing business as usual and developers want to build on greenbelt because it’s easier.

“There are 12,000 homes [across the city region] that are empty or out of use – we should first bring them back into use and brownfield sites should be used up before a blade of greenbelt land is touched.

The hopeful is particularly passionate about increasing the number of social housing units across the city region, and protecting Greater Manchester’s most vulnerable residents.

He said: “They’re not building social housing and I think it’s abhorrent that developers aren’t being held to the minimum 20 per cent affordable housing in each new site.

“There are penthouses in Manchester city centre going for £3,000 a month. We seem to thing £700 a month is reasonable rent, but it’s just ridiculous."

He is also in favour of combining health trusts in Manchester to unify care for residents.