The Scottish Government is facing calls to pass on nearly £50 million in council funding to fix ailing rural roads.
In 2020, the UK Government created a £2.5 billion roads “pothole fund” to help English local authorities with their repairs backlog, with £500m paid out every year for the next five years. This resulted in an additional £48.6m for the Scottish budget.
However North East MP Andrew Bowie, surveying the state of some local roads during a summer surgery tour, says there is little evidence that any of the money has been passed on. And the MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine has called on SNP Ministers to outline how the £48.6m has been spent, and will be in the years ahead.
Writing to finance secretary Kate Forbes and transport secretary Michael Matheson, he has asked for evidence of whether the money was given to councils “specifically for pothole repairs, or simply lumped in with their block grant, or worse, ringfenced for other purposes?”
The Conservative MP said:
“The number one issue raised by constituents on my summer surgery tour was the state of the roads.
“Getting to work, hauling goods and produce, visiting friends and family, taking the kids on a day trip at the weekend – all at the mercy of road conditions which are often substandard, particularly if you happen to live in a rural area.
“The local authority here has budgeted £2.5m for pothole repairs from its core budget, but I think everyone knows that much more is needed. That’s what the pothole fund is there for.
“People are seeing no evidence that this fantastic pot of cash, which could fix 100,000 holes every year, is escaping the Central Belt.
“So I have asked the SNP to outline where that money is going, and tell Aberdeenshire residents that they are going to get a fair share of resources in the future.”