Investment in good quality homes is vital for communities like Blackpool, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn warned during a visit to the resort.
The leader of the opposition arrived in the town yesterday to speak to members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) during their annual conference at the Imperial Hotel in North Shore.
Funding for essential public services, building new council houses and the need to tackle tax avoidance were among the issues he said were key to creating stronger communities.
He said: “There has to be investment in housing, in council housing, with lifetime tenancies, reasonable levels of rent and real security so our children can grow up not in the insecurity of the private rented sector, and having to move house every six months.
“But instead knowing they have got a home they can call their own, where they can enjoy their childhood and do well at school.
“The lack of investment in housing is something that is so damaging to every working class community and every family in this country.
“I want to reverse that, I want to invest in housing. That in turn creates jobs further down the supply chain.”
Mr Corbyn addressed around 200 delegates on the final day of the FBU’s three-day conference, which has been held annually in Blackpool for the last few years and will return next year.
He told them the service they provided was exceptional, especially during incidents such as the recent flooding which affected parts of Lancashire including the Fylde coast.
Mr Corbyn said: “I would say to all those people who think there is something very clever in escaping or avoiding tax and putting savings into tax havens around the world, one day your house might catch fire, one day you might need a public service to save your building, your property or your life.
“It is the rest of us who paid our taxes who make sure that service is still here.”
But he warned the closure of fire stations due to cutbacks was putting lives at risk, adding: “The cuts in the fire service are wrong and unnecessary, and we are seeing for the first time I can remember an increase in fire deaths due to the longest response times in 20 years.
“I’m not blaming any firefighters for that, I’m blaming a government that has so underfunded the service that so many fire stations have closed, therefore it is obviously more difficult to provide the service.”
Following his speech, Mr Corbyn was presented with two sticks of Blackpool rock as a souvenir of his visit to the resort.