The Government fully understand how important it is to have a reliable quality road network, which is why we are providing a record £6 billion for local highways maintenance. We have also created the pothole action fund with a budget of £250 million dedicated to delivering better journeys.
I am grateful to the Minister for his answer. I am pleased that he has agreed to come to Shrewsbury soon to look at some congestion problems in the town. May I draw his attention to the state of the roads in rural counties where there are huge numbers of potholes, a lack of pavements and significant problems? We really need more investment for those roads in rural counties.
I am looking forward to visiting my hon. Friend’s constituency on
From this year until 2021, both the A1 and the A19 will be undergoing extensive roadworks. Although that investment is welcome, the current plans show that both roads will be upgraded at the same time, which will create total chaos on our region’s road network and bring the north-east to a total standstill. I have already written to the Secretary of State about this, and he is clearly not interested. Will he show some interest from today?
We are investing significantly in our road network. We have the Government’s first road investment strategy, with a significant overall pot of £15.2 billion. It is phased to deliver maximum benefit across our country. Of course Highways England plans such things effectively, and then works with local partners to ensure that there is minimum disruption. We should welcome the investment, as I certainly do.
I will indeed join my hon. Friend in praising Dorset County Council. It is great to hear that its long-term approach is paying dividends. It is that approach that we want to see across the whole network. I will write to Dorset County Council to highlight the views of this House, to pass on our congratulations, and to confirm his main point that budgets will be increasing.
Last year, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development paid £4.5 million in compensation for the damage done to vehicles by potholes. The Government allocated extra moneys to Northern Ireland to help with that problem. Will the Minister agree to allocate the same amount of money to Northern Ireland this year?