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Councils blame cars for potholes despite 32% cut in maintenance fund

Local councils want the upcoming Budget to put 2p of existing fuel duty towards fixing potholes despite already cut funding by 32 per cent over the last decade

Local councils have deferred blame for the worsening state of the UK’s roads on the growing use of cars despite figures that show a 32 per cent cut in local spending on highways and maintenance over the last 10 years.

The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents 339 councils in England, is now calling on the government to siphon 2p of fuel duty money – equivalent to around £1 billion of taxpayers money a year – to help tackle the problem.

The growing number of potholes have been a particular scourge of the motorcyclist in recent years with riders being forced off their bikes or having to take dangerous sudden actions to avoid them. It has also been blamed by numerous motorcycle repairs and has had a major effect on rising insurance costs.

At the heart of the issue is the poor-material often used to fill in the holes, which then break up again during colder conditions when water gets between cracks and freezes to open them up further. There is also a huge backlog for repairs.

Such is the issue, even the Commons Transport Select Committee branded potholes a ‘national scandal’ as recently as July 2019.

However, the latest excuses from the LGA are unlikely to go down well with motorists and motorcyclists as they insist an additional 3.6 million cars (13%) registered between 2009 and 2019 is down the worsening conditions. This is despite 32% of funding also being cut in favour of other public services, while its own claims avoids the fact more cars on the road should means more road-related tax funding being pushed towards national coffers.

The LGA says the government spends 43 times more per mile maintaining the Strategic Road Network – motorways and A-roads – leaving local authorities with repairs that will need £9 billion over the course of the next decade.

To counteract this, the LGA wants the upcoming Budget to increase fuel duty further to help fund repairs,

Cllr David Renard, the LGA’s transport spokesman, said: “The sheer volume of traffic on our roads has completely overtaken the amount councils are able to spend on local transport. Councils need long-term funding certainty and investment so they can create safe and attractive cycling and public transport networks, and deliver a more resilient roads network.”

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