Labour accuses Scottish Government of leaving roads to crumble

Labour accuses Scottish Government of ‘leaving roads to crumble’

The Scottish Government has been accused of “leaving roads to crumble” as new figures reveal a near £1.7 billion repair backlog.

Local authorities across the country are facing multimillion-pound bills to fix damaged roads, Freedom of Information data has revealed, with Dumfries and Galloway, Highland, and Argyll and Bute councils seeing repair backlogs worth more than £100 million.

And, according to the figures, taxpayers north of the border would need to spend £1.68 billion on repairs to bring the roads across Scotland up to scratch.

Neil Bibby, Scottish Labour’s transport spokesman, said the “astonishing figures lay bare the dire state of disrepair Scotland’s roads are in after years of neglect”.

But the Scottish Government said local government funding was up, and that maintenance of local roads was the responsibility of councils.

Dumfries and Galloway Council had the highest repair bill backlog, with a bill of just over £217 million.

And, according to the data, Highland Council had a backlog worth more than £194 million, and Argyll and Bute Council had one worth £112 million.

Six local authorities did not reveal the extent of their road repair backlog, including East Lothian, Renfrewshire, and Aberdeen City.

Mr Bibby, MSP for West of Scotland, said the Scottish Government had “cut funding to the bone, leaving roads to crumble and taxpayers to pick up the bill”.

“Our pothole-ridden roads are a daily reminder of how badly the SNP have let down communities all around us,” he said.

“Now the Greens and the SNP have teamed up to hit councils with another year of brutal cuts things are only set to get worse.

“The SNP must stop burying their heads in the sand about this and show some leadership dealing with the mess they created.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said that “despite continued economic uncertainty facing us all due to the pandemic, we are treating councils fairly and providing a real terms increase of 6.3% to local authority budgets for the coming year – despite cuts to Scotland’s overall budget by the UK Government”.

“The budget provides local government revenue funding amounting to almost £12.7 billion – a cash increase of almost £1 billion and a real terms increase of £681.8 million. In addition, councils will receive a fair share of a further £93.9 million which is currently undistributed,” the spokesman said.

“Maintenance of the local road network is the responsibility of local authorities and it is the responsibility of individual councils to manage their own budgets and to allocate the total financial resources available to them on the basis of local needs and priorities.”

The City of Edinburgh Council had a repair backlog worth just over £77 million, according to the data, while Glasgow City Council had one worth £96 million.

Published: by Radio NewsHub