New analysis by the Local Government Association (LGA) has found that councils in England could face a £3.3 billion funding reduction in 2016/17. This means that despite recent government announcements of additional funding for repair of potholes and road maintenance, local authorities will have to further reduce their spending on fixing roads.
The LGA analysis, ‘Future Funding Outlook Report’, found that due to reduced government funding and rising demand local councils will face a funding gap of £9.5 billion by 2020. With councils already having made £20 billion in savings since 2010 following government funding cuts of up to 40% many warn that there are no further efficiencies to be made and that vital services such as road maintenance will suffer. Indeed, LGA has found that between 2010/11 and 2013/14 spending on road repairs has already decreased by 17 per cent.
“The reduction of budgets for road repairs is alarming,” said Howard Robinson, Chief Executive of the Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA). “The local road network is the greatest structural asset of local authorities yet due to continued government funding reductions, they are having to raid road budgets to fund other areas of council services. The results will be further deterioration in the road network, more pot holes and more money required in the future to make roads fit for purpose”.
He continued: “Local councils do not have the financial resources to undertake comprehensive long-term maintenance. Instead they have to do expensive short-term emergency pot hole repair and patch-and mend. Providing local authorities with the right level of funding would allow them to properly and cost efficiently maintain their roads”.