‘We’re shovel-ready’ to repair roads if money is released

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Bucks County Council has joined other councils across the south east in calling on central government to bring forward money earmarked for future road repairs.

In his recent Spending Review, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced there would be a £6 billion investment in road repairs from 2015.

But leader of Bucks County Council (BCC) Martin Tett says councils in the south east are ready to spend the money now.

In a letter to the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, Mr Tett said councils are ‘shovel ready’ to get going with hundreds of repair schemes to help improve roads and boost economic development.

Poor-quality roads are estimated to cost small businesses some £5 billion a year across the country, but this hits hardest in the south east given the high concentration of small and medium-sized enterprises and the intensive use of its road network.

Mr Tett said: “Instead of roads being a liability, we must see them as our country’s number one piece of infrastructure and a lifeline particularly for our businesses and for our overall economic recovery.

“We welcome the Chancellor’s recent Spending Review announcements about a £6 billion investment in road repairs from 2015 onwards. However, our roads simply can’t wait a further two years. We in local government are ready to go, so I and my south east colleagues are calling on the government to release money earlier rather than later.

“I’m convinced that earlier investment in roads will kick-start the economic growth needed to pull our nation out of this period of austerity.”