Local MP Jo Swinson has written to First Minister Alex Salmond challenging him to spend money which has been made available by the UK Government to improve the poor quality of roads in East Dunbartonshire.
Jo knows many local residents are angry about the state of our roads, and she wants the Scottish Government to spend the £24.4million made available to them by the UK Government this year to tackle this persistent problem. This money would provide a significant boost in dealing with dangerous road and pavement surfaces locally as well as the chronic problem of potholes.
The UK Government has made this issue a priority, however, the Scottish Government have not faced up to the challenges and Alex Salmond has yet to say whether local authorities will receive any of the additional money.
Across Scotland there is a significant backlog of road repairs; Audit Scotland estimates the cost of getting all of the existing road network into good repair is around £2.25 billion. Last year East Dunbartonshire Council spent £2.6million, over half of its entire roads budget, on repairing local roads and footpaths, and it’s clear the costs to fix the entire network would be substantially more.
Of all the local councils in Scotland, East Dunbartonshire has one of the lowest roads budgets. In difficult times, the Council has managed to protect its roads budget thanks to the hard work of Liberal Democrat councillors.
If East Dunbartonshire Council received a proportion of this additional money based on their projected share of the Scottish Government’s budget for councils’ road maintenance then nearly £400,000 would be available; a significant boost for investment in our decaying roads.
Commenting on the letter, Jo said:
“Local people have been telling me for years how fed up they are with the state of our roads in East Dunbartonshire. I frequently receive letters from constituents who are frustrated that potholes continue to be an issue, and that the general state of our roads are dangerous for motorists and pedestrians. This is also a persistent problem across Scotland where a recent survey by AA shows that 44% of motorists have had their vehicles damaged in the last two years as a result of potholes.
“It’s time the Scottish Government got to grips with this problem. Extra money has been made available by the UK Government to specifically invest in upgrading roads. In England, councils are getting on with spending those funds to improve roads, yet Alex Salmond has not said whether this money will even be made available to local councils in Scotland.
“We need good quality roads for motorists, families and small businesses. That’s why I have challenged the First Minister to spend this money on our roads immediately”.