£976 Million Spending Per Year On Road Maintenance In England Is Only Half Of Official Estimate Of Spend Needed To Deal With Backlog Says GMB
The government is being penny wise and pound foolish as money saved not fixing potholes leads to much more serious damage that can only be fixed at a much higher cost later says GMB.
GMB, the union for highway maintenance workers, commented on the announcement by Department of Transport that £6 billion will be spent on maintaining and improving local roads in the six years between 2015 and 2021. See notes to editors for copy of press release from Dept of Transport dated 23 December 2014.
Brian Strutton, GMB National Secretary for Public Services, said "The announced £976m per year is less than half the official estimate of the investment needed to cover the backlog of road repairs so the public should ask why the government is not doing more.
In any event, not all councils will benefit from this announcement. The promise of future money may or may not materialise under the next government.
Meanwhile existing potholes will crack up when this winter bites leaving roads in an unfit and dangerous state for motorists.
The government is being penny wise and pound foolish as money saved not fixing potholes leads to much more serious damage that can only be fixed at a much higher cost later.
This is not sensible nor is it an isolated case of where setting out to save money actually costs more in the end. It is why George Osborne will borrow more money in five years than Labour Chancellors did in the previous 13 years."
Contact: Brian Strutton 07860 606 137 or 0207 391 6700 or GMB press office 07974 252 823 or 07921 289880
Notes to editors
Copy of Department of Transport press release dated 23 December 2014.
£6 billion funding to tackle potholes and improve local roads
Transport Secretary announces £6 billion fund to help tackle potholes and improve local roads.
A record £6 billion will be spent on tackling potholes and improving local roads between 2015 and 2021, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin announced today (23 December 2014).
The investment amounts to £976 million a year, enough to fix around 18 million potholes across the country.
It is the first time councils have been given locked-in funding over this length of time, which will help them plan ahead and save money for the taxpayer.
Patrick McLoughlin said:
Roads play a significant part in everyday life. Poorly maintained local roads, blighted by potholes, are a menace to all road users, particularly during the festive period as people travel to see family and friends.
It is vital we have good quality roads. This government has already taken strong action by spending £1 billion more on local roads maintenance than was spent in the previous parliament.
The £6 billion funding I am announcing today will put an end to short term fixes and will mean we have committed £10 billion between 2010 and 2021.
This huge investment is part of our long term economic plan to ensure we have a transport network fit for the 21st century.
The Department for Transport allocates funding to local authorities based on local need, so councils with larger highway networks receive more of the funding.
Over £4.7 billion will be shared between 115 councils, while a further £575 million will be available through a new challenge fund to help repair and maintain local highway infrastructure such as junctions, bridges and street lighting.
It was also announced today that £578 million has been set aside for an incentive fund scheme which will start in 2016 to reward councils who demonstrate they are delivering value for money in carrying out cost effective improvements.
Matthew Lugg, director of public services for Mouchel Infrastructure Services and advocate for the highways maintenance efficiency programme, said:
Taking a more holistic approach to planning roads and services can be game changing and deliver greater efficiencies.
Councils who think about long term planning and how they work together to share their resources, achieve greater economies of scale and keep the road surface in good repair, ensuring value for money for the taxpayer. Today’s announcement by the government will help to deliver this.
Geoff Allister, executive director of the Highways Term Maintenance Association (HTMA) and advocate for the highways maintenance efficiency programme, said:
We congratulate the Transport Secretary in taking the step of introducing an incentive element from 2016/17 into the local highways maintenance funding for councils.
Those that can show they truly understand the value of their asset can plan greater efficiencies and deliver cost-effective, preventative maintenance, making the available money go even further.
Details of funding between 2015/16 and 2020/21 are available on GOV.UK.
The highways maintenance funding levels between 2011/12 and 2014/15 have been published on our local capital block funding page under the heading ‘local transport capital block allocations’.