Leeds pot hole budget slashed

THE budget for repairing potholes and crumbling roads in Leeds is to be slashed by more than a £1m, the YEP has learned. Government spending cuts will see the city's road maintenance budget fall from £7.9m next year to £6.9m in 2014/15 - a cut of 13.5 per cent.

One city MP today questioned whether the council would have enough cash to make the roads safe following the damaged caused by this winter's deep freeze.

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Leeds West Labour MP Rachel Reeves said; "If this winter carries on in the way it started the roads are going to be in a pretty bad state the roads are going to be in a pretty bad state by the Spring.

"If we are going to prevent accidents we need to make sure these pot holes are filled in. I am not sure that can be achieved in these cuts."

Figures published by the Department for Transport shows that the roads maintenance grant in Kirklees is also falling by 1m from 6.3m in 2011/12 to 5.3m in 2014/15.

However, Wakefield's pot hole repair budget is falling by a much smaller amount from 3.1m to 3m over the same period.

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The highways maintenance grant covers the maintenance of all roads and carriageways plus footways, bridges, street lights, signs and traffic lights and is also used to pay for major road resurfacing.

The government is phasing in a change to the way this funding is calculated which will hit authorities in West Yorkshire harder than councils in affluent areas of the South East.

The government will gradually stop taking account of poor road conditions when deciding how much money each local authority should receive.

Ministers believe councils that keep up with highways maintenance are effectively being punished for good work, while those that fail to perform well are benefiting because they get extra cash.

Local transport minister Norman Baker said: "We are also

moving over time to a fairer system which awards funding based on the number of roads in a council area rather than the condition of those roads.

"This will make sure that councils which work hard to keep their roads in a good condition are not then penalised with lower funding."

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