Bradford’s highways maintenance budget cut by 30%
A Government decision to cut the funding to maintain Bradford’s roads by almost a third has been described as “unbelievable.”
Bradford Council’s Highways Maintenance Budget, which is used to resurface roads and maintain street lights and bridges, will be cut from £6m last year to £4.28m this year.
The Council says the 30 per cent cut will impact the ability to repair Bradford’s network of roads and pavements at a time when people will be returning to work and the District looks to recover from the pandemic.
And a motoring group has said the cuts are “the exact opposite of what should be happening.”
In response to the news, Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Planning and Transport at Bradford Council, said: “It’s unbelievable that the government have cut our funding by so much when we’ve already suffered from a decade of austerity.
“This cut means less money to spend on street lighting, bridges and our roads and pavements at a time when we’re doing all we can to maintain them as we re-open the economy and people return to the high street and their places of work.
“The priority now should be safely re-opening society and growing the economy, not yet more austerity.
“It’s like the Conservatives don’t know how to do anything else so they just cut budgets at every opportunity.”
For the past two years the Highways Maintenance Budget allocated to Bradford has been £6,008,000.
For the 2021/22 financial year that figure will be reduced to £4,286,620.
The RAC has also criticised the plans.
RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: “This is the exact opposite of what we should be happening.
“We need to be investing in our roads by resurfacing them instead of leaving them to deteriorate further. Cutting maintenance budgets may be a short-term saving for the Government, but it translates to perpetuating a long-term problem which will cost communities dear.
“The RAC has long campaigned for national government to recognise the vital role local roads play and ring-fence some funds over a five-year period to give councils the resources they need to plan and deliver longer-term road maintenance.
“Having come out of a colder than average winter some roads are now in appalling condition as local authorities are seemingly stuck in a vicious cycle where they are never able to get the roads they are responsible for up to a reasonable standard.
“We appeal to the Transport Secretary and the Treasury to take a fresh look at roads funding.
“Potholes are a sign of broken roads, but they are also a sign of the broken nature of how the roads are looked after and paid for. The UK Government must break the cycle and commit to doing something differently – if they don’t, all road users will continue to suffer unnecessarily.”
The Telegraph & Argus contacted the Government for a response to the Council’s statement.
A Department for Transport spokesperson replied: “This Government is providing £2.5 billion in funding over five years to help councils improve their roads, to ensure all road users have smoother, safer journeys.”