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Government's offer to fund road repairs after budget cuts is 'ironic'
A BURY councillor has slammed government funding of nearly £250,000 to tackle the town’s potholes, claiming “it’s like taking £20 off us and giving us a fiver back”.
Cllr Tony Isherwood, the council’s cabinet member for environment, said it was “ironic” that the government is offering the funding, but cutting back on council budgets.
As part of the government’s national £168 million fund, councils will have to publish reports every quarter to provide an update on how many potholes have been repaired.
Bury Council has been granted £244,561 after applying to the government, which is on top of a weather repair fund of £192,770 granted in March, totalling £437,331.
The Department for Transport said 148 authorities applied in total, and that a greater share of the fund was given to authorities who were able to demonstrate “best practice” in highways maintenance. Cllr Isherwood said: “We’re obviously happy that we will be receiving some money to help deal with potholes in the borough.
“This will complement measures we have already put in place to repair our roads.
“However, it’s ironic that the government is giving us £244,000 for potholes when at the same time it has slashed our budgets by many millions of pounds.
“It’s like taking £20 off us and giving us a fiver back.”
Cllr Iain Gartside, Bury’s Conservative leader, welcomed the funding award. He said: “This is great news for everybody who uses the roads in Bury. Nearly one quarter of a million pounds of new funding will help towards dealing with the problem of potholes and ridding them from our roads.”
The council endorsed cuts of £9.6 million in 2014/15 at the annual budget meeting in February, comprising £7.4 million in line with the budget agreed last year, plus a further £2.2 million, mostly of internal efficiencies.
Bury North MP David Nuttall added: “Investing in Britain’s roads is an important part of the Conservatives’ long-term economic plan to secure a better future for Britain.
“Improving Bury’s roads will help local businesses and make life that bit easier for residents who use them every day.”