Councillors criticise ‘silent’ government after delay of £600 million funding for Birmingham roads PFI

The government has been accused of going “silent” over the future of a £600 million grant aimed at fixing roads in Birmingham, with concerns the delay could lead to “transport chaos”.

Birmingham City Council had expected to receive £600 million over the next 12 years to upgrade and maintain the city’s roads, pavements and streetlights, reports ITV.

The grant would have been secured through a contract with the Highways Private Finance Initiative.

However, many in the council are now fearful and some believe that the Treasury is “running down the clock,” said the ITV report.

If money is cut, it will impact every single resident in Birmingham, according to councillor Liz Clements, who is the council’s cabinet member for transport.

Birmingham City Council leader John Cotton said: “If the Treasury pull the plug on the PFI contract, this will be a complete betrayal of Birmingham that would see our city lose out on £600 million of funding between now and 2035.

“Time is running out and we need the Government to take a decision in the next week or we risk transport chaos in our city.

“For the sake of everyone who lives, works or visits Birmingham, I urge the Treasury to honour the PFI contract.”

Birmingham’s road network is made up of 1,610 miles of road, 3,100 miles of footways, over 9,000 streets, and 94,781 streetlights.

Councillor Liz Clements, said: “If the Treasury abandons our PFI deal then this will have an impact on every single resident in Birmingham.

“Whether you prefer to walk, cycle, take the bus or drive, your ability to travel safely around our city will be hit.

“This decision would compromise our ability to complete the essential works required to ensure our residents are safe on the roads and footways.

“This would also be a blow to our ambitious Route to Zero programme, as we would not have the funds needed to maintain our walking, cycling and bus priority infrastructure.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Transport said: “Just last week we confirmed over £151 million specifically for the West Midlands Combined Authority to deliver smoother, safer local roads, as part of our £8.3bn Network North pledge to help councils improve surfaces up and down the country.

“We’re currently considering the Business Case for a revised contract for Birmingham Highways Maintenance and a decision will be made shortly.”

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