Transport – in the House of Commons on 2nd March 2023.
During this Parliament, the Government are investing over £5 billion in highways maintenance for local authorities across England outside London. That is in addition to the sustainable transport settlements provided to eligible mayoral combined authorities. It is up to each local highway authority to decide how best to spend that funding, and the Government do not generally intervene or override local decision making in these matters.
Additional Government funding for road maintenance has made a significant difference to the quality of road surfaces across many local authorities, including my own in Blackpool. Ahead of the Budget, can the Minister reassure the House that he will continue to lobby the Treasury for additional funding to spend on local roads in England?
I was delighted to visit recently the site near my hon. Friend’s constituency. Great investment is going into the road to link Windy Harbour to Skippool. That is something that I know he has been campaigning for, alongside our hon. Friends the Members for Fylde (Mark Menzies) and for Blackpool North and Cleveleys (Paul Maynard).
As part of the 2021 spending review, the Department worked hard with the highways sector to develop a strong and evidence-based case to the Treasury for a long-term highway maintenance settlement. I assure my hon. Friend that I will continue to make every effort this time, pushing equally strongly—perhaps even more strongly —for sustainable funding for our highways. However, it is worth reflecting on the fact that more money is an important factor, but how we decide to spend it is also very important. I look forward to campaigning with him for a council that can really deliver for the people of Blackpool over the coming months.
Based on these answers, I hope we are not going to have this for the next two years.
Highway maintenance funding continues to be cut for the remainder of this Parliament, resulting in over a tenth of our roads falling into poor condition. When will the Minister finally bring our roads up to the standards that people expect?
The hon. Lady should reflect on the fact that we have put £5 billion into pothole funding between 2020 and 2025, with millions of potholes being filled every year. The three-year settlement for highways maintenance announced in the spending review is there, and as I said to my hon. Friend Scott Benton, I will be pushing the Treasury for more money to go in this direction.