Following an announcement in the Chancellor’s budget speech that an additional £168 million is to be allocated for road repairs through a bid-based fund, local MPs Rory Stewart and John Stevenson have written to Cumbria County Council to ensure they are putting together as strong an application as possible, that properly reflects Cumbria’s need for substantial investment in its roads. It is hoped that the new bid-based fund will help drive up efficiency and value for money to the taxpayer, as councils compete to show why their needs are greatest. The new fund is in addition to the £3,018,761 this week earmarked for road maintenance in Cumbria by the Department for Transport, as a part of its £183.5 million budget for road maintenance. It means that overall, during this parliament, the current government will invest £4.5 billion on local roads maintenance – £800m more than the previous government.

Rory Stewart said:

“It is hugely reassuring to see the Chancellor invest so significantly in Britain’s road infrastructure. In a county as rural as Cumbria, where for most, road travel is the only way to get to the nearest shop, post office or doctor’s appointment, we find ourselves far more exposed to the risk and dangers of pot holes than most. With low average wages, and such a high reliance on cars to get about, the damage potholes inflict on our vehicles can put Cumbrians in real financial hardship. I am constantly speaking to rural communities who have been waiting years for improvements to their local roads. This is why we are pressing the county council to submit a bid that does justice to the needs of thousands of Cumbrian road users.”

John Stevenson said:

“I very much welcome the Budget announcement for additional pothole repair funding, and it is vital that Cumbria County Council seize this opportunity. I know from my constituents that potholes on Carlisle’s roads are an issue. Not only can they damage vehicles, they can also endanger drivers and pedestrians.”

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