Botched roadworks cost taxpayers £70m, it's claimed

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Keeping a car on the road can be expensive these days - what with rising petrol prices, tax and insurance - and that's before you factor in the £70m of tax payers' money wasted on botched roadworks.

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The Local Government Association has accused utility company contractors of botching road jobs - and leaving local councils to foot the bill for repair.

A staggering two million holes were dug up in the roads by utility companies last year. According to the LGA, which represents 419 local authorities in England and Wales, an estimated 360,000 of them were not properly completed, often leaving roads in a worse state of repair.

The LGA have suggested that utility companies should pay a bond before starting any work, which could then be used to cover the cost of any subsequent repairs or delays.

The utility industry responded by saying they would make tighter controls over repairs but insisted that any extra regulations would increase the cost of carrying out the work.

The LGA also wants councils to be given more powers to ensure roadworks are timed to cause minimum disruption to drivers.

Councillor Peter Box, chairman of the LGA's economy and transport board, said: "Roadworks are a pet hate of all motorists. Contractors should not be allowed to get away with botching road repairs and then leaving council taxpayers to foot the bill.

"Councils face the joint challenge of managing the toughest spending cuts in living memory and tackling a £10.5bn backlog in road maintenance.

"It is only right that companies which drill and dig up our roads pay their fair share towards fixing the damage."

What do you think? Should utility companies pay more - or would the cost only get passed on to us another way? Leave a comment below...