Budget Day: £2.5 billion drive to repair potholes

Mr Sunak said the plan will make roads safer

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Rishi Sunak is expected to put forward £2.5 billion to repair 50 million potholes over the next five years in his first Budget today.

The new Chancellor, who was promoted into the role just one month before Budget Day, has promised to “eradicate the scourge of potholes in every part of the country”.

He is set to target the money particularly towards the south west, east of England and north west.

The Treasury said action is needed to improve infrastructure and deal with a situation where 90 per cent of insurance claims are related to pothole damage.

Mr Sunak said: “We can’t level up Britain and spread opportunity if we are spending our journeys dodging potholes and forking out for the damage they cause.

“It’s vital we keep roads in good condition.”

He pledged that the move will speed up journeys, reduce vehicle damage and make the roads safer.

However, Labour has criticised the plan as a rehashed gimmick, attacking the government’s record on road and transport.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said: “This rehash of Theresa May's pothole fund is another policy announcement that shows the Tories trying to patch up problems they have created without getting a grip on the underlying state of infrastructure in this country.

“In this week's Budget the Tories are repeating their mistake of the last 10 years, shelving the National Infrastructure Strategy in place of a gimmicky grab-bag of projects, which is likely only to leave the public let down and disappointed.”

Mr Sunak has also promised to invest "historic amounts" on infrastructure and innovation, with the Treasury saying hundreds of billions of pounds will be pledged for roads, railways, broadband and housing.

It was understood this figure could be more than £600 billion over the five-year Parliament.

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