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26.01.18

LGA hits out at government over £12bn road funding gap

The LGA has attacked central government today after it emerged that Whitehall would be spending 52 times more money on the national road network than it would give councils to deal with the same issues locally.

For every mile, the government is expected to spend about £1.1m on maintaining the national road network, while it has provided around £21,000 to authorities earmarked for the same task between 2015 and 2020.

The news has generated outrage from the LGA, which says it will be left with a £12bn funding gap for roads despite an increase in the number of cars travelling around the network.

Cllr Martin Tett, the LGA’s transport spokesman, pointed to fuel duty to fix the problem, suggesting that 2p per litre should be funnelled into road maintenance, a plan he said would generate £1bn each year.

“It is wrong that funding for local roads is miles behind that of the strategic road network,” Tett said.

“Only long-term and consistent investment in local road maintenance can allow councils to embark on the widespread improvement of our roads that is desperately needed, to the benefit of motorists and cyclists up and down the country.”

In August of last year, the government attempted to deal with the issue by opening up a £75m fund which local authorities could bid on with plans to improve infrastructure.

At the time, transport minister Jesse Norman, said that the money would enable councils to repair key connections, boost reliability and help businesses.

It was part of a wider £6.1bn programme of benefits that the government was planning to roll out in England over a 6-month period.

However, councils say none of this funding is able to be used on new projects because they are so tied up with maintenance and repair work.

Tett claims that councils are fixing a pothole every 19 seconds and that it would take a total of £12bn to fully fix the backlog of repairs that are facing authorities across the country, meaning the difference between national and local spending comes as an even bigger blow to councils and residents.

PSE has contacted the Department for Transport for a reply on this issue.

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