Spring Budget 2020: Chancellor to announce £2.5bn pothole funding package
The chancellor is to announce £2.5bn of funding in today’s Budget; enough to fix up to 50 million potholes.
Part of the Government’s “infrastructure revolution” and being accompanied by a £27bn package for new road building, the funding will be spread over the next five years and will also be available for local authorities to undertake longer-term road resurfacing works to prevent potholes from appearing in the first place.
Speaking on the morning of his Budget statement, chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi 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.”
The funding will particularly benefit regions who have more streets to look after than other areas, like the South West, the East of England, and the North West.
Local authorities will be able to target places based on local need, meaning that areas with more bumps in the road can be fixed first.
However, John McDonnell MP, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, responded to the Chancellor’s pothole announcement, calling it a “gimmicky grab-bag of projects”.
“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 £192bn 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 ten 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,” he commented.
And while IAM RoadSmart strongly welcomed the funding, it says longer-term thinking is also needed.
A past survey of more than 7,000 IAM RoadSmart members showed a clear majority (88%) believe the condition of our roads have deteriorated in recent years and over half those surveyed (56%) said there are many more potholes than ever before, and that they had to swerve to avoid potholes on every journey.
Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: “Pothole damage is not just inconvenient and expensive, it is a massive safety concern.
“Drivers and riders pay a premium through their taxes for investment in roads. It really is time to ring-fence funds for tackling this pothole epidemic, and get the problem sorted once and for all.”