William Eichler 07 April 2016

Whitehall should invest '230 times' more to tackle potholes, says LGA

The Government's proposed £50m investment into fixing potholes falls dramatically short of the required funding, say council chiefs.

Whitehall announced today it will release £50m from the £250m Pothole Action Fund to repair up to one million holes over the next 12 months.

The money will go to 100 English councils.

The Local Government Association (LGA) warned, however, local authorities need much more to cover the billions it will cost to improve local infrastructure.

'While £50m is a step in the right direction,' Cllr Martin Tett, LGA Transport spokesman, said, 'councils need more than 230 times that amount to cover the £11.8bn cost to bring our roads up to scratch.'

He continued: 'The money announced today will help those councils receiving it to tackle potholes, but it would not even completely cover the cost of the £69m faced by the average authority to bring its roads up to a reasonable condition.'

The Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) was also critical of the proposed funding.

Alan Mackenzie, AIA chairman, said: 'The government's announcement of a £50 million Pothole Action Fund for England in 2016/17 might seem like good news but is, in fact, another clear sign that the battle to rescue our crumbling local roads network is being lost.

'It does nothing to address the cumulative effect of decades of underfunding and perpetuates the downward spiral of the 'patch and mend' approach.

The LGA proposes money raised through fuel duty should be reinvested into the country's road system.

'Our polling shows that 83% of the population would support a small amount of the existing billions they pay the Treasury each year in fuel duty being reinvested to help councils bring our roads up to scratch,' Cllr Tett said.

AIA argues investing more in mending the UK's infrastructure would save cash in the long term.

'Our research has shown that an invest-to-save approach pays dividends with every planned investment providing long-term savings of more than twice the amount spent,' Mr Mackenzie said.

'Throwing money into potholes is complete madness,' he added.

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