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Condition of Roads

Volume 708: debated on Thursday 3 February 2022

The Department is investing more than £5 billion over this Parliament in local highways maintenance—enough to fill in millions of potholes a year and resurface roads throughout England.

The Mayor of London is considering a daily charge of £2 to drive on Greater London’s roads that would slap more than 2.5 million people with a substantial new driving bill. My constituents, like those in many places in outer London, rely on their cars to get around because the public transport alternatives are inadequate. Does my hon. Friend agree that the Mayor should look at more creative ways to fix Transport for London’s finances instead of planning highway robbery?

I absolutely agree with my hon. Friend: hammering motorists is not the way to do it. Transport in London is devolved to the Greater London Authority and therefore decisions on road-user charging are for the Mayor of London, not the Government. We will continue to work with the Mayor to help him put TfL on a sustainable long-term footing, but it is exactly as my hon. Friend said: creative solutions need to be put forward.

Last year, the Chancellor told people to enjoy National Pothole Day before the potholes were all gone. He then slashed the road maintenance budget by £400 million—enough to fix millions of potholes. Thanks to those broken promises, the roads Minister’s own community has become the pothole capital of England. The Government talk about levelling up, but in reality they cannot even level up the surfaces of our roads. When will the Minister get a grip, reverse these broken promises and deliver the funding that communities need to sort out the mess on our roads?

Actually, at the spending review, the Government announced £2.7 billion over the next three years for local road maintenance in places not receiving those city region settlements, which is enough to fill in millions of potholes a year, repair dozens of bridges and resurface thousands of miles of road. The three-year settlement will help local authorities plan effectively for managing their highway assets, tackling those potholes and other road defects across local road networks.