Government to spend £100m on repairing potholes

The inevitable rise in petrol costs wasn't the only announcement of interest to motorists in yesterday's Budget statement - Chancellor Alistair Darling also outlined a plan to spend £100m on repairing the UK's potholed roads.

Another £285m has been earmarked for improvements to the motorway network, and this will include allowing more drivers to use the hard shoulder at motorway exits during peak hours.

The £100m fund has been allocated as a response to the damage to roads caused by the recent cold weather.Motoring groups have welcomed the news, but some, such as Professor Stephen Glaister of the RAC Foundation feel the announcements did not go far enough.

"At least the Chancellor has recognized the problem of potholes, but £100 million for local roads will not go far," he said. "Motorists know that many roads are now not fit for purpose and it will need billions rather than millions spent on maintenance to bring our road network back up to standard. The future still looks bleak."

AA president Edmund King says this was the same amount spent on repairing potholes last year. "The AA had campaigned for extra funding to fill the potholes and is delighted that the current pothole plague can be addressed," he said.

Some of the funding for the two projects will come from cuts to the Department for Transport's marketing and communications budget. At least the cuts are coming from an area that will not hit the average motorist, although it would have appeased more people had Darling announced that the 3p fuel tax rise he is introducing was going directly on a project like this. At least then the motorist would feel like they were getting a return on their money.

However, with a general election imminent, and the Conservatives pledging an 'emergency' budget should they come to power, it's unclear whether these measures will ever be enacted.
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