Lincolnshire County Council’s draft budget for 2022/23 shows a £12 million funding gap for 2022/23 following a 25% cut from central government in February 2021.
Cllr Martin Hill, leader of Lincolnshire County Council, said: “Unlike last year, we haven’t allocated the £12 million government slashed from our highways maintenance grant in our draft budget. This is because we’re still hopeful the Transport Secretary will listen to our plea and reinstate the 25% funding cut thrust upon us last February.
“Despite finding corporate savings of £354m since 2011, we still expect to face a cumulative funding shortfall of around £23m over the next four years. This means we’d struggle to continue covering the £12 million roads maintenance funding gap, as we will already need to increase council tax, draw on our reserves or find further savings – or more likely a combination of all three – to balance our budget.”
According to the county council, continued lack of funding could lead to an increase in unplanned roadworks, a drop in road network resilience and more potholes. At the moment, 660 miles of Lincolnshire’s roads are classed as being in poor or very poor condition.
Cllr Richard Davies, executive member for highways, said: “It’s incredibly disappointing that we haven’t yet had any commitment from Westminster to reinstate the £12 million that was taken from our roads maintenance grant last year.
“Our vast 5,500-mile road network is crucial to the livelihoods of residents and businesses, so it’s essential that we keep it up to the standards they deserve. The £12 million cut by government last year and then backfilled by our reserves fills 24,000 potholes and rebuilds 37 miles of crumbling road. Without it, people will continue to watch as our roads get worse and the local economy takes a hit. That’s why we will continue lobbying government until they listen to us. We need them to fix our funding so we can fix our roads.”
Cllr Martin Hill added: “In response to a very strong steer from voters and the public, we’ve always done our best to protect the highways maintenance budget from cuts. So we will do whatever we can to keep Lincolnshire’s roads in the best possible condition if government doesn’t replace the £12 million funding gap they’ve left us to fill.
“We’ll also continue working closely with our local MPs to get the decision-makers in Westminster to introduce a fairer way of sharing out the available highways funding, ensuring that areas like Lincolnshire are no longer left behind. We also encourage everyone throughout the county to help in our fight by visiting our campaign webpage and writing to their local MP to demand better funding for our roads.”