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Government pledges £2.5bn to end ‘scourge’ of potholes

The government is to pledge £2.5bn over the next five years towards fixing potholes in England as part of the latest Budget

The UK government is to set to announce the equivalent of £2.5bn in funding to fix roads across England as part of the latest Budget.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak says the funding package, which is set to take the form of a £500m bonus for the next five year, will be allocated to local authorities to begin resurfacing works with the intention of preventing potholes from appearing in the first place.

"We can't level up Britain and spread opportunity if we are spending our journeys dodging potholes and forking out for the damage they cause,” Mr Sunak said. “It's vital we keep roads in good condition."

The pledge comes amid growing pressure from local authorities towards the government to allocate more funds towards tackling the problem, due to a growing backlog for repairs due to funding shortfalls and the rising insurance claims relating to damage from potholes.

It comes after the Federation for Small Business (FSB) said in January that ‘poorly looked-after roads peppered with holes and cracks not only hamper our members' ability to do business, but lead to damaged vehicles, which are often vital assets to small firms."

In 2018 more than £1.9m was paid out in compensation over pothole damage, with the average pay out claim being around £257.

It is hoped the funding will serve its purpose this time. Billions has been pledged in the past but not met the demands of the local authorities who have needed to use it for other services instead.

Indeed, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell says the announcement is simply a ‘gimmicky grab bag of projects’

The funding is allocated to England only as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have devolved responsibility for road maintenance.

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