As part of the Network North plan, the Government are providing a record funding increase of £8.3 billion for local highway maintenance in England over the next decade to enable local highways authorities to resurface roads up and down the country. Over that period, Nottinghamshire will get £138.44 million of additional funding over and above what it would have received. In the current financial year, most highways authorities in England will get 30% more funding than they did in the previous year.
I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for that answer, and for the billions that have been redirected to the midlands for road repairs from HS2. Conservative-controlled Nottinghamshire County Council, in difficult financial circumstances, is endeavouring to spend millions, beyond its regular highways budget, on road repairs. May I impress on him that this remains perhaps the top issue raised with me in my inbox? Will he bear that in mind, particularly when he has his conversations with the Treasury? Will he join me in my campaign to carry on fixing Gedling’s roads?
I am grateful to my hon. Friend for raising the issue, and for pointing out how effective Nottinghamshire County Council is in spending the £2.3 million that it is getting this year and will get next year; this is revolutionary long-term funding. Interestingly, this is happening because we have a plan, not just for delivering better roads, but for paying for that. Having a plan for delivering and paying for things is important, as the Labour party is finding out today; it has no plan and no way to pay.
May I associate myself with the Secretary of State’s remarks wishing His Majesty the King a speedy recovery?
Potholes in Broxtowe are incredibly bad; my constituents raise this issue all the time. The ongoing situation has been compounded by multiple recent flooding events in Nottinghamshire, which have resulted in five times more damage to our roads than has occurred in other years. My office gets calls and emails constantly about this plight, from constituents in Beeston, Stapleford, Strelley, Nuthall and Kimberley, to name a few of the areas I am contacted about. This week, I met my hon. Friend the Member for Mansfield (Ben Bradley), the leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, to raise this issue. What more are the Government doing to work with local councils to tackle potholes in Broxtowe?
My hon. Friend the Member for Mansfield (Ben Bradley) raised the issue of flood damage with me as well, and we are looking at what we can do. I am glad that my hon. Friend the Member for Broxtowe (Darren Henry) raised the issue of the importance of funding for improving local roads. We made a big decision on that, and improving the road network over time and allowing local authorities to spend that money shows an important sense of priorities. We are also making sure that reporting requirements are in place, so that highways authorities have to set out to the people to whom they are accountable what they are spending the money on.
The pothole situation is a metaphor for what the Government have been doing with public investment in the past 14 years. The roads have got worse and worse, with the Automobile Association describing October as the worst month for pothole breakdowns on our roads. If the Government were really concerned about this issue, they would not have starved local authorities of the resources to deal with the problem. Is that not correct?
No, I do not agree with the hon. Gentleman on that at all. We have given local authorities more than £5 billion of funding for local road maintenance. The £8.3 billion in the Network North plan is over and above that. I would have thought he would welcome the fact that when we announced the money for local road maintenance, I decided that in London, 95% of that extra funding would go to London councils, rather than Transport for London, so that it gets spent on fixing the roads, rather than being wasted by the Mayor of London.
The Secretary of State seems to have forgotten the extensive cuts to the road repair budget that his Government have presided over. Let us consider the example of Northamptonshire, where the Government have cut £16 million from highways maintenance since 2020 alone. That is leaving 330,000 potholes unfilled. He knows that the Network North announcement will give Northamptonshire back only £2.5 million of that £16 million over the next two years. As for Wellingborough, the last time Peter Bone mentioned road repairs was in 2015. After 14 years of neglect by the Conservative Government and their former Conservative MP, is not the best advice for people in Wellingborough who want action on potholes to vote for Labour’s Gen Kitchen next Thursday?
It will not surprise the hon. Gentleman to hear that I do not agree with him at all. Before the Network North announcement, the Government were already investing over £5.5 billion of capital funding in highways maintenance between 2021 and 2024-25, and in the Budget last year, the Chancellor found an extra £200 million for eligible highways authorities. The £8.3 billion is on top of that, so I would urge voters in Wellingborough to vote for our fantastic candidate, Helen Harrison, who will make a fantastic Member of Parliament to serve on the Government side of the House.