The contenders for one of Bolton’s most hard fought seats have gone head to head with just days to go until the General Election.

The Radio 4 Today Programme Bolton West hustings, hosted by Nick Robinson, proved to be largely good humoured by sharply contested as candidates from five parties clashed.

Housing, infrastructure, funding for schools and the fate of Bolton town centre all proved to be major topics.

Addressing the state of the high street, sitting Conservative MP Chris Green said: "If you go to our high streets in Horwich, Westhoughton, in Lostock and Heaton actually most of the shopping units are filled."

He added: "If you look at Bolton town centre the challenge is different."

The election will be held on July 4The election will be held on July 4 (Image: Newsquest)

He said that the current Labour council has followed the previous Conservative administration's policies in building more housing in the town centre.

But his Labour opponent Phil Brickell argued that the government needed to take a “hands on approach” in encouraging more businesses to succeed.

He argued they could do so by scrapping the old business rates system.

As the debate turning to housing and the difficulty faced by first time buyers in getting on the property ladder, Mr Brickell said the government must build more “generally affordable homes".

He also argued that policies should be help people specifically to buy houses “locally".

But Mr Green argued this would be “a recipe for businesses not to get the candidates they need” to which Mr Brickell replied that Mr Green’s support for Liz Truss had “crashed the economy".

Reform UK’s Dylan Evans said housing would continue to be a problem "until we get a grip on the numbers of people coming here".

Labour’s plan to cancel the VAT exemption on private schools proved to be a contentious topic, which Liberal Democrat Donald McIntosh described as a “gimmick.”

Mr McIntosh said the policy felt like "the old class war, with Labour", to which Mr Brickell responded that it would help to fund more specialist teachers in the state sector.

Conservative Mr Green accused Labour’s Mr Brickell of attending Bolton School on a bursary and “pulling up the drawbridge after him.”

Green Party candidate Vicki Attenborough said that her party would work to end “harmful” Ofsted inspections and testing and would introduce more “creativity and play” for children.

She said the Greens would also aim to abolish tuition fees.

Infrastructure, the state of the roads and the Clean Air Zone also proved to be hot topics.

Mr Evans of Reform UK described the measure as a “tax on working people” but Ms Attenborough said less well-off people were more affected by pollution.

She said: "One in five people don't have a car and they tend to be poorer people who don't have cars."

Presenter Nick Robinson closed the debate by asking the audience if they were “enjoying” the election, provoking a mixed response.

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Those enjoying it said they had enjoyed “getting involved”, while one looked forward to being a first time voter.

But those not enjoying the election said that they “knew what the result was going to be” and said that no party had a “credible plan.”

Mr Robinson closed by thanking the audience and advising them to “think hard".

Patrick Robert McGrath of the English Democrats is also listed as a candidate in Bolton West but did not attend the hustings.

The General Election will be held on Thursday, July 4.