Budget will include £2.5bn for fixing potholes

Councils say they are filling a hole in the road every 17 seconds

Andrew Woodcock
Political Editor
Wednesday 11 March 2020 00:32
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Budget 2020 - what can we expect?

Chancellor Rishi Sunak will announce £2.5 billion to fix up to 50 million potholes in his budget on Wednesday.

The spending was welcomed by local councils, who said they were mending holes in the road at a rate of one every 17 seconds.

But Labour said the government was offering to “patch up problems they have created” through underfunding of public infrastructure over the past decade.

The £2.5 billion package will be spread over the next five years and is intended to supply funds to fix 10 million potholes each year.

Mr Sunak said it would help speed journeys and reduce a problem which results in a car-repair call-out roughly once an hour across the UK.

Some 90 per cent of all motoring insurance claims related to pothole damage, costing drivers an average of £230 to fix, said the Treasury.

And cycles and motorbikes are three times more likely than other road vehicles to be involved in a pothole-related crash resulting in an injury.

The Treasury indicated that town halls will be able to target funding based on local need, and funds will be made available to undertake longer-term resurfacing work to prevent potholes appearing in the first place.

Speaking ahead of his first budget as chancellor, Mr Sunak said: “We can’t level up Britain and spread opportunity if we are spending our journeys dodging potholes and forking out for the damage they cause.

“It’s vital we keep roads in good condition. That’s why we are going to eradicate the scourge of potholes in every part of the country. This funding will fill millions of potholes every year - speeding up journeys, reducing vehicle damage and making our roads safer.”

Local Government Assocation transport spokesman David Renard, said: “We are pleased the Chancellor has listened to and acted on our calls for significantly more funding to fill and repair potholes.

“Fixing our roads is a top priority for councils, who fix a pothole every 17 seconds.

Rishi Sunak

“We look forward to seeing the details of how this money will be allocated between councils. Extra funding will help councils to do more to maintain our roads, and will go a long way to help tackling our local road repairs backlog.”

But he added: “To help councils go further to maintain our roads, they need devolved infrastructure and public transport budgets – ensuring a funding allocation in advance for five years, which would enable them to deliver infrastructure improvements that allow people to move around in less carbon-intensive and more sustainable ways.”

Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell said: “This rehash of Theresa May’s pothole fund is another policy announcement that shows the Tories trying to patch up problems they have created without getting a grip on the underlying state of infrastructure in this country.

“The Tories have created a £192 billion infrastructure investment hole over the last decade, and throughout that time they have failed to adopt a strategy for investment in the long term.

“In this week’s budget the Tories are repeating their mistake of the last 10 years, shelving the National Infrastructure Strategy in place of a gimmicky grab-bag of projects, which is likely only to leave the public let down and disappointed.”

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