RAC Cars News


£6 Billion Christmas Pothole Bonus For UK

By raccars Published

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The government is determinedly currying favour this election year with the announcement over Christmas of a £6 billion fund to solve the UK's pothole problem. The investment is part of a six year strategy, aimed at finding a long term solution to Britain's pothole nightmare rather than continuing the policy of short term fixes, which has contributed to the current situation.

Some £1 billion will be given to local authorities annually from 2015-2021, to be spent on improvements to roads damaged by years of flooding and harsh winters. About 18 million potholes could be fixed with the money.

Over a hundred councils in England will be sharing out £4.7 billion between them, while a bidding process will be conducted for another £575 million, destined for the repair and maintenance of bridges, junctions, street lighting and other infrastructure. Another £578 million will go into an incentive fund, which from 2016, will be given as a reward to the councils who have delivered the best value for money in the course of their repairs.

The new investment will take the total spent by the coalition government on roads from 2010-2021 to £10 billion. Other motoring organisations have cautiously praised the move, pointing out that roads maintenance is a necessity and should have been part of the government's basic policy all along, rather than given as a treat at Christmas.

The RAC has welcomed the scheme but has suggested that yet more needs to be done. The Asphalt Industry Alliance published a report, estimating pothole repairs of £12 billion are needed to cope with England's neglected roads maintenance, most of which is the responsibility of local authorities. The RAC believes that the same bold steps must be taken to deal with local roads networks as the government has taken with strategic roads in the UK, or the country could be left with a two tier roads network, which will leave local areas struggling to keep up with the pace of economic growth.

The RAC has also questioned where the money for the project will come from, and with fears that motoring taxes could shoot up after the election in May, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has cautioned the government against such a move, suggesting that it could damage Britain's booming auto retail sector. Austerity moves are expected by any election winning party, and the SMMT fears that the British motorist could be targeted.

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