COVENTRY is to receive around £150,000 of government cash to fill nearly 3,000 potholes within the next year, it was announced today.
With four weeks before local elections, the government’s Department for Education published a list of awards for councils across the West Midlands and elsewhere.
Labour leaders at Coventry City Council claim they swept to power in 2010 on the back of public anger about potholes – and it was claimed there was years of underinvestment.
Since then, the government has reduced overall funding to councils for jobs and services by around a half.
Labour leaders have claimed their political priority of filling potholes in roads in their first few years in power made inroads into tackling Coventry’s chronic problem.
Today’s DfT announcement sets out amounts for the first time to be received by each council from the government’s Pothole Action Fund.
Conservative chancellor George Osborne had included the measure in last month’s Budget, although precise amounts were not known.
Coventry City Council is to receive £154,000 to fill an estimated 2,906 potholes in city roads.
Solihull will get £159,000 to fill an estimated 3,000 potholes, while Warwickshire will receive £832,000 to tackle 15,698 holes.
A DfT press release states the £250million Pothole Action Fund will help fill over 100,000 potholes in the West Midlands within 12 months.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “I know how important well-maintained roads are to people across the West Midlands.
“Almost every journey starts and ends on a local road, so the government is giving councils in the West Midlands £5.7 million specifically to tackle the blight of potholes in their area.
“This is just one part of our unprecedented investment in local road maintenance over the next five years. We are giving a record £512 million to local authorities in West Midlands that will improve journeys across the region.
“In total, the government is spending a record £6.1billion nationwide on local highways maintenance between 2015/16 and 2020/21, giving councils long-term certainty for the first time to plan future work with the aim of preventing potholes and improving local roads, bridges and street lighting.”
Funding from the scheme is calculated according to the size of the local road network in the area.
The city’s Labour council leaders have pointed to the reduction of more than £100million of government funding since 2010.
The Conservatives say they are radically changing government funding to make councils more accountable, including with more flexibility over retaining revenue from business rates – while the Tories in government have pushed an elected mayor and West Midland Combined Authority to take some responsibilities for transport and economic regeneration.