‘£1billion needed to fix pothole problem’ - MP blames Government for crumbling roads
An MP has called on the Government to do more to solve the North East's crumbling roads.
Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn says a major cause of the problem is Government funding cuts to local authorities.
Raising the issue at housing, communities and local government questions, Mr Hepburn said: “The national problem of potholes has been caused by this Government and their 50 per cut to local government funding for tackling it.
"While the new money is welcome, it is a drop in the ocean. North East councils alone need £1billion to sort out its pothole problem. Will the Minister press the Chancellor for more?”
Jake Berry, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, said it was estimated that it costs an average of £53 to fill a pothole and money announced at the last budget in the North East alone is enough to fill over 400,000 potholes.
He added: "Rather than complaining about it, perhaps it is time those North East councils got on with it.”
Stephen Hepburn MP said: “Since the Tories got into power in 2010 the condition of roads in the region have fallen into disrepair and people are concerned at some of the conditions they are in.
“Year on year this Conservative government continues to cut funding for our local councils who are doing their best to provide local services and local road network.
“The answer I received from the Minister was no surprise but there’s no doubt that over the past eight and a half years the Tories have overseen the destruction of our local public services and facilities with little care or understanding of the consequences.”
In December South Tyneside Council was told it was getting an extra £686,000 to improve roads on housing estates in the borough.
It says the cash will allow plans to resurface roads on the unclassified housing estate network to be brought forward and completed earlier than scheduled.
The money was in addition to South Tyneside's share of cash from the Pothole Action Fund.
The local authority said that because the works programme is being brought forward, next year’s budget will be re-evaluated accordingly.
The Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance survey last year revealed that local councils across England would need a one off sum of over £9.3 billion in order to get roads back into reasonable conditions.
It was also found that councils in the North East would need just under £1 billion in extra funding from the Government to deal with the problem.