A new direction

THE need for a major review into motoring taxes – and how this money is reinvested – is made even more urgent by today’s report which reveals that £95m needs to be spent on urgent repairs to pothole-riddled roads in Yorkshire that have been slammed as the worst in the country.

There would not be such a funding shortfall if the licence fee paid by motorists – and the exorbitant levels 
of duty now paid at the pumps – was actually 
spent on the country’s transport infrastructure rather than being used to prop up Whitehall’s creaking public finances and the pet projects of ministers.

Yet, with a new report revealing that it will cost £10.5bn simply to repair Britain’s crumbling network, a change of direction is now required to break the current impasse in which the Government insists the responsibility rests with local councils while the town halls blame Whitehall spending decisions for their lack of action.

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This culture of buck-passing simply cannot continue when the state of some roads – like the A65 near Kirkstall Abbey in Leeds – is so poor that motorists have been known to swerve onto the opposite carriageway in order to protect their vehicles.

Funding is not the only issue – two very cold winters have taken their toll on the network, while the record of the utility companies continues to leave much to be desired. They’re still not doing enough to restore roads to a fit and proper standard after carrying out repairs of their own.

Nevertheless, there need to be incentives for councils to fill potholes within a certain timeframe – it is, after all, one of their core responsibilities – rather than authorities simply hoping for the best with a policy of patchwork repairs.

In short, the time has come to deliver a fairer deal for motorists.