'Give us more money to fix potholes': County pleads with government for fairer roads funding
Buckinghamshire is supporting calls to the government for a fairer slice of funding to fix our crumbling roads - as national research shows London has the money to invest three times the amount compared to counties.
Figures, produced by the County Councils Network (CCN) this week showed the 36 shire counties in the analysis were able to spend an average £20,885 per mile on road repairs, pothole filling, and building new junctions and roads last year.
By contrast, London councils were able to spend an average £62,350 per mile.
Mark Shaw, Bucks County Council deputy leader and transport cabinet member, said that while the authority was investing more than £20 million in roads in the current financial year - including halving the number of potholes needing repair last year - it was still well below what he would like to see invested to bring all the county's roads up to scratch.
"Our road teams work tirelessly to keep our 2,000 miles of roads safe and resilient, and that includes a tremendous achievement in repairing road defects like potholes, but our budget is always under intense pressure," said Mark.
"It’s a fact that our roads are some of the busiest in the country and without adequate funding from government, we'll always be playing catch-up, particularly when you think of the damage done during the three months of rain we've just had."
Mark welcomed CCN lobbying on behalf of county councils to ensure a fair distribution of the new government's promised £2 billion for repairing potholes in the coming four years.
An announcement on allocations of the first £500 million for 2020-21 is expected in the coming weeks.
"The CCN analysis shows a big difference between the two sides of Buckinghamshire's south eastern boundary; that our county's motorists are the poor relation to drivers in London and other cities, when it comes to spending on mending potholes and improving local roads," said Mark.
"What's needed is a more equitable allocation of government funds across different council types, and a longer-term settlement for roads funding, rather than the current ad-hoc fund pots we have to bid for," he said. "I welcome the CCN's drive to influence the government to correct this disparity."
Potholes needing repair in Bucks were reduced from 11,695 between April and September 2018 to 5,939 for the same period last year, April to September 2019.
Buckinghamshire lost all of its grant support for day-to-day services from government in 2018. It means that more than 85 per cent of all services are now funded by local council tax - and the remaining cash comes from business rates, new homes bonus and other income.
Bucks Free Press
Hillingdon & Uxbridge Times
Bucks Free Press
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Last updated by System Admin on 27th August, 2018