`

Is £400,000 pothole cash just smoke and mirrors?

.
.

GOVERNMENT claims to have boosted South Tyneside’s war on potholes have had a bumpy reception from council bosses.

The Department for Transport has announced details of how it will share out highways cash across the region for the next three years.

ROAD MAINTENANCE ...  to combat the problem of potholes.

ROAD MAINTENANCE ... to combat the problem of potholes.

South Tyneside will get £1.54m in the next financial year, £1.42m in 2016/17 and £1.37m in 2017/18.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “Roads play a significant part in everyday life. Poorly maintained local roads, blighted by potholes, are a menace to all road users, particularly during the festive period.

“It is vital we have good-quality roads. This government has already taken strong action by spending £1bn more on local roads maintenance than was spent in the previous Parliament.”

The Department for Transport allocates funding to local authorities based on local need, so councils with larger highway networks receive more of the funding.

A spokeswoman for South Tyneside Council said: “While we welcome the funding, I must stress that this is not additional money, neither is it specifically for potholes.

“The money that has been announced is actually the Local Transport Plan (LTP) maintenance funding allocation which is set each year.

“LTP funding is a Tyne and Wear allocation and allocated across the five authorities plus Metro owner Nexus. LTP is further split between Highway Maintenance and Integrated Transport funding.

“Unfortunately what this announcement does not highlight is that Integrated Transport funding for South Tyneside has been cut.

“All in all we expect to receive about £400,000 less in 2015/16.”

She added: “However, despite the reduction in funding we are committed to improving the network across South Tyneside and will look to make bids to the Regional Growth Fund to bring forward road projects that will not only improve journeys and reduce congestion but will help to support major economic developments.

“We know that good road surfaces are essential to highway safety. This funding is a welcome addition to the work we do to fill in potholes and repair damaged roads right across South Tyneside.”

Twitter @shieldsgazette