Funding for motorways and major arterial routes to be delivered over five years from 2020, with a further £420m for pothole repairs also announced. Critics argue road repairs and public transport should come first
The UK’s motorways and major arterial roads could receive £28.8bn worth of infrastructure investment, with a further £420m to be given to local authorities to fix potholes and repair road surfaces.
Although CBW went to press prior to the 2018 Budget, which was due to be announced on 29 October by Chancellor Philip Hammond, he was expected to announce the two new funds during his statement. The funds are an addition to the existing £1bn highways maintenance budget and £300m pothole repair fund.
According to ITV News, the £28.8bn will be provided over a five year period running from 2020-2025. It is a 40% increase on the previous five year period, which saw £17.6bn of investment.
The £28.8bn will be part-funded by revenues from vehicle excise duty, along with road tax, which has been ring-fenced for use on the roads network for the first time.
A further £150m is expected to help councils make changes to road junctions, with the aim of improving access to workplaces, high streets and various other community facilities.
Speaking to Sky News on the eve of the Budget, Chancellor Philip Hammond did say ahead of the Budget that if the UK left the EU without a Brexit deal he would ‘need to look at a different strategy for the future,’ which appeared to imply a new Budget would be delivered. However, 10 Downing Street later said that statement was referring to using ‘fiscal firepower’ if necessary, which could be tax or borrowing measures. It said the outcome of Brexit would not change anything announced in the Budget.
Labour Shadow Transport Secretary, Andy McDonald, commented: “With car dependency rising, public transport in decline and local roads in a state of disrepair, ramping up spending on major roads is the wrong decision.
“It simply isn’t sustainable to repeatedly ramp-up major road spending, especially at a time when air pollution causes 40,000 premature deaths each year and climate change is threatening a global crisis.”