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Tories accused of overseeing ‘pothole pandemic’

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak looks at a pothole in Darlington (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak looks at a pothole in Darlington (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Sixty-three claims for pothole-related damage were made by motorists every day last year, the Liberal Democrats have said.

The party has called for road maintenance budgets to be fully-restored by the Government, accusing the Conservatives of overseeing a “pothole pandemic” on English roads.

Data from 85 local authorities in England, obtained by freedom of information requests, shows that compensation paid to motorists reached £1.77 million in 2022/23 – a slight rise on the previous year.

The Liberal Democrats said that the number of pothole claims has grown significantly in the last year, with 23,042 in 2022/23 compared with the 13,579 recorded the previous year.

Housing and Communities spokeswoman Helen Morgan said: “This Conservative Government has overseen a pothole pandemic on our roads. It’s now become almost impossible to drive in some parts of the country without having to swerve to avoid potholes.

“This has led to thousands of drivers having to claim for damage to their vehicles or even personal injury caused by crater-filled roads.

“The Government is firmly to blame for this failure to maintain our roads properly after having slashed funding for local road repairs.

“Cash-strapped councils are being left without the funding to maintain roads properly while having to shell out thousands of pounds in pothole payouts.

TRANSPORT Potholes
(PA Graphics)

“Local authorities need to have their highway maintenance budgets urgently restored so that we can end this vicious cycle of pothole payouts and poorly maintained roads.”

A Department for Transport spokeswoman said: “We are investing an extra £8.3 billion to resurface roads across the country, the biggest ever funding increase for local road maintenance.

“This is enough to resurface more than 5,000 miles of roads and is on top of the more than £5.5 billion that we have already invested in highway maintenance.”