05/03/2021 - Press Release - Tories slash pothole fighting fund by 22% in West Sussex
New figures from West Sussex Labour
New analysis from West Sussex Labour reveals the enormous Conservative £6,000,023 cut to the local road maintenance fund in the county, with the Labour Group Leader at West Sussex county council describing it as “the Tories giving with one hand but taking it with the other”.
The cash promised to local authorities by the Government to repair damage on roads across the country has been cut by £375m.
It comes just weeks after the Chancellor urged people to “enjoy” National Pothole Day “before they’re all gone” and days after ministers boasted about funding given to councils this year – despite it being billions short of what is required.
It also comes soon after the West Sussex Tories claimed they were putting in a £6m boost to the usual level of spending on highways for each of the next two financial years, with it now becoming clear this will only be replacing money that it has now lost from the Government.
Independent experts have found it will now take 11 years and £11bn to clear the backlog nationwide.
Commenting on this, Labour Group Leader at West Sussex County Council Michael Jones (Southgate and Gossops Green) said,
“Once again, this Tory government is short changing West Sussex. Potholes are the scourge of our roads - they cause widespread damage to cars and bikes. The Chancellor promised they would all soon be gone – then cut the fund to get rid of them. That sums this government up.
“How is it they can afford billions in crony contracts for their friends but when it comes to fixing the roads we rely on in West Sussex, they tell us the cupboard is bare. It’s either incompetence or the wrong priorities – or a bit of both. Whatever it is, this chaos is holding our area back and it has to stop.
“This cut effectively entirely wipes out the local West Sussex Tories’ extra money for roads, that they have made such a play of.
“They can’t afford not to replace that lost money, West Sussex’s roads cannot deteriorate any more than they have already, a result in itself of previous Government cutbacks and reductions by Tory county councillors year on year.
“Not only does this reveal this previous cynical political spin, but it is yet another classic example of the Tories giving with one hand but taking it away with the other”.
Jim McMahon MP, Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary, said:
“It appears the Government is trying to quietly scale back its promises to councils and do them out of the cash they desperately need.
“Local authorities are being forced into economically illiterate tax hikes while motorists are left to contend with problems that will take more than a decade to fix.”