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Potholes and Road Maintenance

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:56 pm on 16th March 2010.

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Photo of Sadiq Khan Sadiq Khan Minister of State (Department for Transport) 10:56 pm, 16th March 2010

The allocation of the funding is based on a formula that takes account of the sort of factors to which the hon. Lady refers. Clearly, when the Department for Communities and Local Government and the DFT allocate funding in the next round from 2011 onwards, one of the things that the various working groups will be looking into is the perceived fairnesses and unfairnesses towards different authorities. The hon. Lady said that hers is a floor authority, so she will be concerned to make sure that it is not penalised in the next round of the spending review.

Central Government also help by supporting the UK Roads Liaison Group, which has produced a range of codes of practice on highways maintenance that are widely respected across the industry as representing good practice. The group has also produced a range of other research and reports, notably on the lessons to be learned from the severe weather of February 2009, which has been much quoted in this House over the past few months.

I mention central Government's activity in this connection, not to blow our own trumpet but to emphasise that local roads are a local resource and that we are very much in a supporting role. When there are calls for central Government to take a more directive role in local road maintenance-such as with the strategic stockpiling of winter salt-we have consistently said that it is a matter for local authorities. There is no reason why local authorities should not collaborate, when they see the advantage of doing so, to achieve efficiency savings and other benefits. An example of that can be found in the east midlands, where the Midlands Highways Alliance expects to achieve savings of £11 million through authorities working together.