William Eichler 16 October 2017

Spend rising fuel and motoring taxes on local roads, say council leaders

Spend rising fuel and motoring taxes on local roads, say council leaders

Council chiefs have urged the Government to spend the over £400m extra raised each year through rising fuel and motoring taxes on improving local roads.

The number of vehicles on the road has risen 30% since 2000. There are now 8.5 million cars and lorries adding to congestion and damaging transport infrastructure.

A report published by the Local Government Association (LGA) last March revealed the country was facing a £12bn road repairs backlog.

The LGA warned a lack of funding had left councils 'trapped in a frustrating cycle' and it would take more than ten years just to catch up with the repairs needed.

At the same time, the 2017 Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) survey said each council was on average £4.3m short of the money necessary to repair their roads properly.

An analysis from the LGA published today found that if Whitehall matched the increase in fuel and motoring tax income generated over the last decade town halls would have an extra £418m to spend on local roads.

Also, the LGA — anticipating next month’s Autumn Budget — called on the Government to fully fund the statutory concessionary bus fares scheme. Due to underfunding, councils have been forced to subsidise the scheme by £200m a year.

‘Councils are doing all they can to provide their communities with the transport services they need, to manage and ensure that roads are free-flowing as possible,’ said Cllr Martin Tett, LGA transport spokesman.

‘The Government needs to develop a fully funded plan to help councils deliver the desperately-needed local road improvements we need. This should include matching the extra growth in tax take with the funding it provides councils.

‘This would see councils given an extra £400 million a year to spend on filling potholes, easing congestion and protect vital bus routes. Only with long-term funding can councils deliver roads truly fit for the 21st Century.’

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