UK Road Industry responds to the lack of local road investment in Spring Statement
The Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA) believes that the lack of any mention of investment in the local road network in yesterday’s Spring Statement undermines the Chancellor’s stated aim to ensure that the UK is open to business.
Mike Harper, RSTA Chief Executive said: “Councils are facing a funding gap of over £3 billion in 2019-20. Unfortunately, the Chancellor failed to use the Spring Statement to announce any further funding for local services. This means that Council will again find themselves having to ‘rob Peter to Paul’.
“Although last year’s Budget saw the Government announcing an additional £420 million for local authorities to go towards repairing potholes and damaged roads this amount pales into insignificance when compared to the £9.3 billion necessary to bring our roads up to an adequate standard.
“To drop money in unpredictably does not help highway professionals to plan quality preventative maintenance works that will stop potholes from forming in the first place. Trying to spend large amounts quickly during the winter months also leads to undertaking the wrong type of works – this is a poor use of public funds.
“Furthermore, the funding allocated to road repair is not ring-fenced. Hard pressed local authorities may find themselves forced to use highway budgets to fund rising social care needs.
“The local road network is the UK’s greatest infrastructure asset. It connects the airports and the ports to the national motorways and trunk roads. It carries the vast majority of people travelling to work and of businesses delivering goods and services. If the Government really wants to prove that the UK is open for business then it must invest in maintaining and improving the local road network. Failure to do so will result in the network being increasingly unfit for purpose. What is needed is a 5 year funding settlement for local authority so that highways professionals can plan preventative treatments to keep our roads in good condition, knowing the budget that is available to deliver appropriate maintenance works.”