The Budget: £200m to fix potholes and no fuel price increase

Michael Mann - Web Editor, Bike Social
By Michael Mann
MannOnABike Web editor of BikeSocial. Been riding bikes since he was four-years-old. Fast and smooth road rider, just about hangs on in a track day quick group.

There was good news for road users in today’s Budget announcement as Chancellor George Osbourne announced an extra £200m over 2014/15 to establish a ‘potholes challenge fund’ for local councils to repair potholes across the UK caused by one of the worst winters on record. This is on top of the £140m which was made available earlier this month to repair the road networks affected.

Potholes - £62.50 each to fix

Also, as some had predicted, the fuel duty rise expected in September was cancelled and will remain frozen until September 2015.  Petrol pump tax was increased by 0.76p in January 2011 but then cut by 1p only two months later.

With wind and rain battering the UK on and off for the past four months, the network of roads have taken a real beating but fear not motorcyclists for our Government has now vowed to pour a total of £340m into fixing them. 

George Osbourne. Photo: EPA

The budget read: 'This emergency funding set aside by government will allow local authorities to repair up to 3.2 million potholes following the severe weather'. So, with £200m set aside just for potholes, according to Bike Social’s calculations that means each pot hole would cost £62.50 to fix!

Earlier this month when the £140m announcement was made, Prime Minister David Cameron said: “It’s because of the difficult decisions we have made on public spending that we can afford to repair roads damaged by the severe weather as part of our long-term economic plan to secure Britain’s future and help hardworking people.”

Whilst Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “Having the right infrastructure in place to support businesses and hardworking people is a crucial part of our long-term economic plan. This extra money will help make a real difference to the millions of road users and local residents who rely on local roads, giving them safer and smoother journeys.”

Councils have a responsibility to maintain their roads properly, but the exceptional weather has caused significant additional damage, increasing the amount of damage to the local road network.

Bike Social spoke to Peterborough City Council whose spokesman reacted to the Budget by saying, "As the UK’s fastest growing city, having a high quality road network is vital, not least in terms of making it safer for bikers and cyclists to be on two wheels.

Decent roads help promote economic growth which in turn will boost the prosperity and quality of life of our residents. Any additional money we can secure from government will be welcome”.

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