South Tyneside Council leader Iain Malcolm today gave a lukewarm welcome to news that the authority is to be given £172,674 to repair roads damaged by severe weather this winter.
The Government cash follows hot on the heels of a Budget announcement by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne that £200m was to be made available to repair potholes in roads nationwide.
Coun Malcolm said it was difficult to be too grateful for the cash because the government had reduced the council’s funding pot by £100m over the last four years.
He said: “Clearly we welcome any funding, and we will use it as required by Government, but, just to clarify, giving £172,000 with one hand and taking £100m with the other is not the best way to fund our services in South Tyneside.”
The latest funding is an emergency payment from the government to help with road repairs following the wettest winter on record and will pay for the repair of 3.3 million potholes.
South Tyneside’s cash support is lower than that of neighbouring authorities.
Sunderland City Council is getting £346,608 to fix its potholes, and £294,795 will go to Gateshead, £282,923 to Newcastle and £251,071 to North Tyneside.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “Damage to roads causes misery for drivers and local communities, and the severe weather over the last few months has made the problem worse.
“This extra money will help make a real difference to the millions of road users and residents across England who rely on local roads, giving them safer and smoother journeys.”
The extra money is being distributed now to ensure that repairs can be started as soon as possible.
That will mean that the majority of the damage can be fixed ahead of the summer holidays.
A total of 116 local highway authorities in England will receive a share of the funding, along with a one-off payment to Transport for London.
All councils will be required to publish information on their websites showing how and where the money will be spent.
Further guidance will be made available in the coming weeks on how councils can bid for the new £200m funding for next financial year announced in the budget on Wednesday.