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Substantial cuts in road maintenance budgets revealed in Autoglass survey

Half of the local authorities responding to Freedom of Information requests by Autoglass are cutting their road maintenance budgets.

Reductions of up to £17 million are being made as councils slash spending to balance the books.
The findings led to a warning from the leading vehicle glass repair and replacement company that motorists’ safety could be at risk from a deteriorating road network.

Matthew Mycock, Autoglass managing director, said: “Cuts in the road maintenance programme will inevitably mean potholes go unfilled and cracks are left unrepaired.

“This will cause discomfort and inconvenience to drivers, damage to their vehicles and even jeopardise their safety. Every day, we hear from our customers that travelling around parts of Britain is becoming a nightmare because of the state of the roads and this is not likely to improve in the foreseeable future.”

The biggest cut of those local authorities responding to the Freedom of Information requests was in Kent where the county council is cutting its overall road maintenance budget from £90m to £73m.

There were other big falls in Bedfordshire (-£1.779 m), Surrey (-£1.256m) and Essex (-£648,885). Among the big city authorities, Leeds reported a £5.011m reduction – although this did not take account of additional Government money to repair potholes. Liverpool announced a drop of £1.4m followed by Nottingham which is expecting to make an 18% cut from £2.01 million in 2010-11 to £1.66m in 2011-12.

Of the 18 authorities which responded, nine reported cuts, six said they had no plans to reduce road maintenance spending and only three – Birmingham, Hampshire Cambridgeshire – reported increased spending.

Autoglass serves over 100,000 customers every year with cracked windscreens which are caused by potholes and poorly maintained roads. A recent poll by the company revealed that potholes were the number one issue for motorists with 80% saying repairing them was the top priority for the national road budget.

Nearly half – (47%) - of those questioned said they would prefer to see State support for the Royal Family trimmed if the money could be diverted to fixing the crumbling road network. Thirty nine per cent also called for theforeign aid budget to be cut to tackle the problem.

Mycock said: “The state of the UK’s transport network is a huge issue and and many drivers would be prepared to countenance cuts in other budgets if the money was then earmarked to fix the nation’s roads.”

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