THE Chancellor provided another boost for drivers with a £100 million repair fund for pothole-plagued roads following the big winter freeze.
Mr Darling said he was providing the emergency fund for local authorities to repair roads and also £285 million for improvements to motorways, including schemes to allow motorists to drive on the hard shoulder at peak times.
But Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said the £100 million for local councils would “not go far” and it would need “billions rather than millions spent on maintenance to bring our road network back up to standard”.
Transport Secretary Lord Adonis said: “The Chancellor has announced an extra £100 million for local authorities to repair pothole damage as a result of this winter’s severe weather.
“I intend to allocate this to councils as soon as possible, so that they can immediately get their maintenance staff filling potholes and making our roads as safe as possible for drivers, motorcyclists and cyclists.
“We have trebled funding to local authorities over the last 10 years for road maintenance.
“This pothole fund further demonstrates our commitment to ensuring that our roads are in the best possible condition.”
Coun David Sparks, chairman of the Local Government Association’s transport and regeneration board, said: “The Government has listened to our call for an extra £100 million to help councils fill in more potholes.
“It is important that road maintenance is sufficiently funded in coming years if we are to avoid lots of potholes in future, and the money announced today is an important start.”
Peter Mathews, President of Black Country Chamber of Commerce, said: “Following a particularly bad winter, we are delighted that £100 million will be spent on much needed road repairs, particularly given that our local authorities are facing significant budget cuts that will impact on services.”
l Under a previously-announced measure, owners of newly-acquired, high-polluting cars will pay a “showroom tax” from next month which will in some cases more than double the amount of their vehicle excise duty (VED) car tax for the first year of their vehicle’s life.
For example, owners of the highest-polluting vehicles will have a first year VED rate of £950, while motorists buying the least-polluting new models will not have to pay VED at all for the first year.
AA President Edmund King said: “The Government’s car-scrappage scheme has had a positive effect but this showroom tax will hit the motor industry.”