Emergency £800,000 repair fund for Sunderland’s battered roads

Coun James Blackburn

Coun James Blackburn

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SUNDERLAND’S roads are in line for some emergency surgery after the city was handed more than £800,000 in Central Government cash.

The money is part of a £33million national package announced in Chancellor George Osborne’s autumn statement earlier this month.

The pot includes £25million of capital funding for local road maintenance, of which the North East’s 12 authorities will receive £11.8million.

The money is being divvied up according to the length of each council’s road network. Northumberland is the biggest winner, with a £3.9million share, followed by Durham with £2.8million.

Sunderland’s £804,000 means Wearside gets the third biggest pay-out.

Coun James Blackburn, Sunderland City Council’s Portfolio Holder for City Services, welcomed the cash announcement but accused the Government of giving with one hand and taking with the other.

He said: “Reductions in central government funding for local authority services have inevitably resulted in the Highway Maintenance budget being assessed and prioritised against other service demands.

“However, the condition of roads and footways remains a priority for the city council.”

The authority would make sure the money was spent where it could do the most good.

“We have in place an inspection, maintenance and administration system to ensure that our highways maintenance budget is utilised to maximum public benefit

“These one-off additional funds are nonetheless welcome.”

Announcing the national allocation, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “This extra money will support economic growth and development by helping local authorities to get the best out of their local road network.

“This money can be spent on measures to bring smoother, safer and more reliable journeys to the travelling public , whether they are commuting to work or taking the children to school.”

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