William Eichler 14 August 2023

Government slashes pothole repair funding by £2bn

Government slashes pothole repair funding by £2bn image
Image: ronstik / Shutterstock.com.

The UK has fallen far behind other high-income countries when it comes to funding repairs in pothole-ridden local roads, research from the Local Government Association (LGA) has revealed.

In 2006 the Government spent £4bn on local road maintenance, according to figures from the OECD, a group of 38 high-income countries. By 2019, this had dropped to £2bn.

Over the same period, Sweden, Denmark, the United States, Japan and New Zealand increase spending on local roads by around half, while only Italy and Ireland have seen cuts comparable to the UK.

At the same time, the latest residents’ satisfaction polling by the LGA found that only 34% of residents were satisfied with how well their local roads were maintained. This is the lowest level recorded since the survey began in 2012.

The latest estimates from the ALARM survey found that councils face a record £14bn road repair backlog which it would take them 11 years to tackle without further support.

Cllr Shaun Davies, chair of the LGA said: ‘The UK has fallen from the top to almost the bottom of the league when it comes to the amount we spend on repairing our local roads.

‘Decades of reductions in funding from central government to local road repair budgets has left councils facing the biggest ever annual pothole repair backlog.

‘Positive extra funding in the recent Budget will help, but councils still face considerable challenges when trying to get on top of this pothole blight.’

The LGA urged all political parties to pledge to a 10-year programme where current funding for local roads and local transport infrastructure is boosted by devolving the equivalent of 2p of existing fuel duty.

Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) chair Rick Green commented: 'We support the LGAs call for committed investment in local roads and a longer-term approach. The AIA also believes that more local highway budget ringfencing is needed to ensure that funds are directed to the type of works that deliver the best value for money, lower lifetime carbon impacts as well as enhancing conditions and improving the resilience of the local road network.'

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