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DfT slammed by MPs for road maintenance cuts

  • 16 March 2012
  • By Chris Tindall

Swingeing cuts to roads maintenance budgets could cost more in the long term because of increased vehicle damage and road repairs, warns an influential group of MPs.

The Public Accounts Committee also says the Department for Transport doesn’t fully understand what impact its cuts to road maintenance will have on the state of the country’s roads.

“My Committee is concerned that short-term budget cutting could prove counter-productive, costing more in the long-term as a result of increased vehicle damage and the higher cost of repairing the more severe road damage,” says Committee chair Margaret Hodge.

In response transport minister Norman Baker says it is providing £3 billion to councils for road maintenance between 2011 and 2015, as well as investing £6m for longer term strategies.

“We also gave them generous windfall handouts last year following the severe winter which caused major problems,” he adds.

The warning comes as a survey found that 1.7m potholes were filled in last year, which cost local authorities £90m.

AA President Edmund King says the results show “that potholes blight our roads and are as much about lack of investment in proper road repairs as they are about bad winters and heavy traffic. We need a new approach to stop this vicious circle of decline.”

The government is cutting the Department’s budget by 15% by 2014/15 following the Comprehensive Spending Review in 2010.


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