At Cambridgeshire County Council’s budget meeting yesterday the Tories made much of their commitment to ‘invest’ £18 million in highways maintenance over the 2020/21-2023/24 period. It’s a con.
It’s not new money. It simply replaces the loan which the Council has been using in recent years to prop up its highways maintenance budget. So it’s not new money it’s simply recognising that the loan will run out and that another source of funds is needed.
It’s not funded. At least with the loan money you knew it was there but this ‘investment’ is just added to the wish list and increases the 2020/21 unfunded deficit to over £14 million. You can’t cover that with a 2% council tax increase.
It’s not even investment. Much of the money will be spent on reactive repairs including pothole filling. That’s necessary work to do but engineers tell me that such work does nothing to extend the life of the highway. Sadly the Tories are so proud of their Dragonpatcher pothole filling kit that they lose sight of the bigger, longer term issue which is to prevent potholes in the first place.