Labour Manifesto: One million potholes filled and multi-year funding

Dominic Browne

Labour has promised to give councils multi-year funding settlements for local roads as part of plans to fill an extra 'one million potholes across England' announced in its election manifesto.

The manifesto, released today, pledged to find the extra investment to fill an extra million potholes in each year of the next parliament 'by deferring the A27 bypass, which is poor value for money'.

The A27 Arundel bypass is currently costed at around £320m by National Highways - meaning it could supply £64m a year for pothole repairs.

At the current cost of £72.26 for filling a pothole this could mean Labour fall short by around 111,000 potholes.

However, in statements to the press ahead of the manifesto's release, shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh said: 'Our plan for drivers will support councils with multi-year funding so that roads are fixed for the long term - not just for a few months at a time.'

And elsewhere she added that the plan was to ‘repair and prevent up to a million potholes per year'.

It is not clear how much of the extra cash would be set aside for proactive asset management. 

If councils had the freedom to spend the extra cash as they wished they might lean towards better value proactive asset management plans to prevent potholes rather than the high cost of filling existing ones.

Labour also reiterated plans, first announced last year, to take 'support drivers by tackling the soaring cost of car insurance' and to set 'new binding targets' for the roll-out of EV charging. It's manifesto did not reveal what those targets would be.

The party also confirmed that it would restore 'the phase-out date of 2030 for new cars with internal combustion engines' which the Conservative government had pushed back to 2035.

In transport, Labour again stressed its existing plans to bring the railways into public ownership 'as contracts with existing operators expire or are broken through a failure to deliver, without costing taxpayers a penny in compensation'.

'Great British Railways will deliver a unified system that focuses on reliable, affordable, high-quality, and efficient services; along with ensuring safety and accessibility,' the manifesto said.

'It will be responsible for investment, day-to-day operational delivery and innovations and improvements for passengers, working with publicly-owned rail operators in Wales and Scotland. Mayors will have a role in designing the services in their areas. There will be a duty to promote and grow the use of rail freight. Labour will also create a tough new passenger watchdog, focused on driving up standards.'

Under Mr Starmer and Ms Haigh's plans Labour would also continue devolution to metro mayors, helping roll-out London-style transport powers to more cities, as well as give authorities the chance to set up their own bus companies - something banned under the Conservatives.

Its manifesto said: 'Building on the work of Labour mayors, we will reform the broken system through new powers for local leaders to franchise local bus services and we will lift the ban on municipal ownership. This will give local communities in England control over routes and schedules.

'Labour will give mayors the power to create unified and integrated transport systems, allowing for more seamless journeys, and to promote active travel networks. Labour will also develop a long-term strategy for transport, ensuring transport infrastructure can be delivered efficiently and on time.

'Labour will secure the UK aviation industry’s long-term future, including through promoting sustainable aviation fuels, and encouraging airspace modernisation.'

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