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£200m pothole repair fund available

Chancellor George Osborne has outlined a number of highways initiatives and infrastructure spending as part of his Budget speech today.

He is making £140m available, on top of that already provided, for immediate repairs and maintenance to damaged flood defences across Britain. A new £200m potholes fund will also be available, which local authorities can bid for cash from. 

He approved a £270m guarantee for the Mersey Gateway Bridge project which will connect the Central Expressway in Runcorn with the Eastern Bypass and Speke Road in Widnes. It is envisaged that the new bridge across the River Mersey and the Manchester Ship Canal will be a toll bridge, with three lanes in each direction.

He also plans to introduce legislation to give new tax and borrowing powers to the Welsh government to fund their infrastructure needs - meaning they can start improvement work on the M4 in South Wales.

Osborne added: “We’re the first government to have committed to long term and rising capital budgets – and this autumn I will set out the detailed plans for the projects that will be supported for the rest of the decade. We’ve been reminded again this week of the benefits high speed rail will bring to the north of our country and I’m determined it goes further north faster.”

He added that as well as having a modern infrastructure as part of a successful economy. So too is a modern industrial strategy.

“If Britain isn’t leading the world in science and technology and engineering, then we are condemning our country to fall behind,” stated the Chancellor. Therefore, the government aims to develop new centres for doctoral training, for Cell Therapy and for Graphene.

He added: “To make sure we give young people the skills they need to get good jobs in this modern world, we’ve doubled the number of apprenticeships and I will extend the grants for smaller businesses to support over 100,000 more.” There will also be new range of degree-level apprenticeships developed too.

Peter Shone, managing director of national highways maintenance contractor, JPCS, welcomes the potholes fund announcement. He said: “Our winters are getting harsher and this has had a significant impact on our roads and footpaths. Research has shown there are at least 1.5 million potholes in the UK, almost one in 10 people have suffered car damage as a result of poor road surfaces in the past 12 months, and local authorities have paid out £2.5m in compensation to motorists in the past financial year.

“Pressure on local authorities' maintenance budgets has made needed repair works a challenge. The funding released today is a positive step in supporting local councils tackle the pothole epidemic.”

(Image copyright: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP/Press Association Images)

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