I will come on to the blaming of local councils, but first I will finish talking about roads in my constituency.
Bridgewater Street has Maxton House, a supported home for the elderly and people with dementia, on it. Over a number of months, there have been six accidents alone on that particular road. Again, the work has not been done. A recent RAC survey found that the condition and maintenance of local roads was the second-ranked motoring issue in an extensive list that also included safety, cost and mobility concerns.
Local authorities have paid more than £70 million in pothole compensation since 2013. That amounts to unnecessary wastage of more than 25% of the £250 million the Government announced in its 2013 pothole action fund. Collectively, the AA calculates that potholes are costing drivers and insurers £1 million every month. That situation is not normal or acceptable. It is a result of a perverse funding system, as was highlighted by a respondent to the House of Commons Facebook page. Discussing today’s debate, Rob commented:
“England’s roads are just one big pothole;
the councils have neglected them through lack of cash”.
That is the important point: it is about a lack of cash. My local authority has had its budget slashed by 54% in the last eight years. Since it has to satisfy its legal obligations, such as looking after the elderly, the young and the vulnerable, there is no money left. I do not know where hon. Members expect it to find the money. I know there is a magic money tree for the Democratic Unionist party, but there is not one in Bolton for the roads.