MPs call for funding to tackle ‘potholes plague’

2 Jul 19

MPs have called for a five-year funding deal for roads maintenance to tackle the “plague of potholes”. 

Cash-strapped local authorities have had to divert money from roads funding to other statutory services such as social care, the transport committee has noted.

The committee’s report Local roads funding and maintenance: filling the gap, released yesterday, claimed inadequate local roads undermined local economic performance and cost taxpayers - through rising costs of deferred maintenance or through a ‘make do and mend’ approach - that offered poor value for money. 

Deteriorating roads represent safety issues for all road users, especially cyclists, and can cause older, vulnerable pedestrians to afraid to leave their own homes, the committee said. 

The report called on the government to provide a ‘front-loaded’ five-year funding package in the Spending Review to address the “historic road maintenance backlog and plan confidently for the future”. 

MPs recommended the exact details of the settlement should be determined in consultation with local authorities through a consultation. 

The chair of the transport committee Lilian Greenwood said: “Local roads are the arteries of our villages, towns and cities, but most people won’t have to go further than the local shops to spot a pothole that poses a risk of injury or damage.

“Local authorities are in the invidious position of having to rob Peter to pay Paul. Cash-strapped councils are raiding their highways and transport budgets to fund core services. 

“This is not an isolated example – it’s been a common thread in our other recent inquiries on buses and active travel. Now is the time for the department to propose a front-loaded, long-term funding settlement to the Treasury as part of the forthcoming Spending Review.

The Department for Transport has been contacted for comment. 

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