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Volume 632: debated on Thursday 30 November 2017

The Government are providing local highway authorities in England, outside London, £296 million between 2016 and 2021. That includes an extra £46 million that was announced in the autumn Budget last week. I am sure that local authorities right across the country will welcome their share of funding and put it to good use.

We have heard some thoughtful remarks about tyre quality on both sides of the House this morning, and road quality is the flip side of that coin. Many of my constituents suffer from pothole-marked roads. In our Conservative manifesto this year we committed to improve the quality of roads and fill potholes. Will my right hon. Friend tell my constituents that we remain committed to that?

Potholes are a menace; they are a drain on the economy and damage hard-working family cars. That is why the funding that the Government are providing local authorities in England outside London from the pothole action fund is enough to fix nearly 6 million potholes—or, even better, to stop them from forming in the first place. People deserve to see smooth and safe roads as they look back in Ongar.

In 2006, the annual local road maintenance study estimated that it would take nine years to repair every pothole on our local roads. Fourteen years have now passed. How long does the Minister think it acceptable for motorists and cyclists to wait to see the necessary investment coming from the Government to repair potholes on our local roads?

It is always a mistake for someone to prepare their question before they have heard the previous answer, and if the hon. Gentleman had heard the previous answer he would have asked a different question. Notwithstanding that—[Interruption.] I do not mean to be unkind to the hon. Gentleman; he is right to raise the issue. Potholes are a nightmare, and we have made that absolutely clear. That is why we are putting the money in place to deal with them. There is always more that we can do, and I will take his question as a spur to do still more.

Although the A180 suffers from its fair share of potholes, the bigger problem for road users and residents in Healing and Stallingborough is the concrete surface. I urge the Minister to have discussions with Highways England to see how a phased programme to replace the concrete surface could be introduced.

This is not the first time that my hon. Friend, with typical assiduity and diligence, has raised the issue of that concrete surface—indeed, he has raised it with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. I am inclined to visit my hon. Friend and drive on that road with him to see for myself exactly what is happening. Having done so, I will certainly look again at all we can do to improve that surface and other road surfaces, as the Secretary of State has committed to do. My hon. Friend is right: road surfaces make a difference, and they deserve our close attention. They will certainly get mine.