Councils should receive a front-loaded, five-year funding settlement to repair local roads, MPs have argued today.
A new report, published by the Transport Select Committee, warns councils are being forced to take short-term, reactive decisions on road maintenance, which is less effective than proactive maintenance.
Local roads funding and maintenance: filling the gap says the current approach does not provide value for money, is seriously compromising the safety of other road users, and undermines local economic performance.
The Committee is calling on the Treasury to agree a five-year settlement and consult with local authorities to ensure the funding is designed in a way that will be most useful for them.
Committee chair, Lilian Greenwood, said: ‘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.’
Local Government Association’s transport spokesman, Cllr Martin Tett, said: 'It is not right that the Government spends 43 times more per mile on maintaining our national roads – which make up just 3% of all roads – than on local roads, which are controlled by councils and make up 97% of England’s road network.
'While the extra one-off £420m funding announced in last year’s Budget has helped, we need government to follow with a long-term funding plan in this year’s Spending Review.'