Councils fight for road cash

Highways Reporters

A handful of local authorities have increased their road maintenance budgets despite spending cuts.

Freedom of Information requests have revealed that councils are fighting to protect their road repair cash following a public outcry over potholes.

But many are fighting a losing battle with half of local authorities  suffering budget cuts of up to £17m.

Windscreen repair specialist Autoglass submitted FoI requests across the country in a bid to reveal the true extent of spending cuts.

Of the 18 local authorities who responded, three – Birmingham, Hampshire and Cambridgeshire – reported increased spending.

Six said budgets would remain the same while nine reported a fall.

The biggest fall was in Kent where the county council is cutting its overall road maintenance budget from £90m to £73m.

There were other big falls in Bedfordshire (-£1.779 m), Surrey (-£1.256m) and Essex (-£648,885).

Leeds reported a £5.011m reduction – although this did not take account of additional Government money to repair potholes.

Liverpool announced a drop of  £1.4m followed by Nottingham which is expecting to make an 18% cut from £2.01 million in 2010-11 to £1.66m in 2011-12.

Matthew Mycock, Autoglass managing director, said: “Cuts in the road maintenance programme will inevitably mean potholes go unfilled and cracks are left unrepaired.

“The state of the UK’s transport network is a huge issue and and many drivers would be prepared to countenance cuts in other budgets if the money was then earmarked to fix the nation’s roads.”
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