The Government has been criticised after funding to fix potholes and maintain roads in West Yorkshire has been cut by 21.8 per cent.
According to the Yorkshire Evening Post, West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) has said that its transport maintenance fund for 2021/22 has been slashed from £46.7 million in 2020/21 to £36.5 million, a reduction of £10.2 million.
WYCA said the 21.8 per cent decrease was ‘disappointing’ and will have a detrimental effect on local communities, difficulties in undertaking road maintenance, which is urgently required on the region’s roads.
The Government announced £500 million for highways maintenance earlier this week as part of its five-year £2.5 billion Potholes Fund, with Transport Minister Baroness Vere saying it would allow ‘potholes that blight road users to be dealt with promptly’.
Councillor Kim Groves, chair of WYCA’s Transport Committee, said she was disappointed by the cuts, adding that West Yorkshire has seen unprecedented demand on local council budgets due to the pandemic, and the cuts will place further pressure on the councils’ ability to maintain the region’s roads.
“We have real concerns what this cut could mean for our communities. Local authorities rely on this funding to carry out vitally important road repairs and maintain the condition of their road networks, which affect all users, including pedestrians,” she said, urging the government to consider the concerns before the Budget announcement in March.
A Department for Transport spokesperson said following the 25 November Spending Review the Government ‘rightly prioritised the response to Covid-19, support jobs and supporting families at this incredibly difficult time’.
She added: “Funding for pothole fixing and road maintenance is still very significant; the Government committed £1.1 billion to local roads maintenance in 2021-22, including this £500 million allocated from the Potholes Fund.”
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