Denton and Reddish MP, Andrew Gwynne, has attacked the Government as new figures from the RAC have revealed that the number of drivers breaking down after hitting potholes reached a three-year high between April and June this year.
The RAC reported a 15% rise from last year’s second quarter in breakdowns caused by poor quality roads. The RAC said there were a total of 4,091 call-outs for damaged shock absorbers, broken suspension rings or distorted wheels in the second quarter of the year – an average of 44 a day.
The figures come just a week after Oxfordshire County Council was accused of asking local residents to volunteer to fix potholes. It was encouraging parish and town councils to fund and take responsibility for patching up the roads.
Grants from central government to councils have been reduced by half (49.1%) in real terms over the period 2010-11 to 2017-18. The LGA estimates that even plugging this £8 billion gap would only just keep services standing still and does not in any way cover the funding needed to improve services or reverse any cuts made to date. AIA figures show that 24,496 miles of roads are in need of repair in Britain over the next year. The total budget shortfall to repair pothole-filled roads currently totals an estimated £556m, equating to a shortfall of £3.3m for each authority.
With local authority budget halved, essential road works have proven harder to complete, and with the Government refusing to commit to bridge the funding gap the issue could spiral further out of control.
Andrew Gwynne said:
“Even under such financial pressure local authorities are still filling a pothole every 21 seconds across England, but they need the support of central Government in order to ensure our roads are kept in good condition.
“We need to make sure our councils are properly funded otherwise damaged roads will continue to get worse with vehicle damage increasing all the time.”