New government funding for road repairs in York is just three per cent of the council’s highway budget, according to the transport executive.
The City of York Council will receive £360,000 this financial year to improve its roads, followed by a further £360,000 for the financial year beginning in 2024.
At the full council meeting on Thursday (23 November), the Conservative Party’s Cllr Martin Rowley asked the Labour administration’s economy and transport executive member Cllr Pete Kilbane if he welcomed the funding.
Cllr Rowley asked: “Will the executive member for transport join with me in welcoming the additional £366,000 from central government to help with pothole repairs this year and another £366,000 for pothole repairs next year?”
Cllr Kilbane, who is also the deputy leader of the council, said: “Yes, we welcome the investment.
“When you’re out at sea you’ll grab any floating wood you can get hold of, won’t you?
“Our budget for this financial year for those kinds of repairs is £8.5m, which we will deliver.”
However, Cllr Kilbane added: “Unfortunately I think the amount of money that they gave us amounts to around about three per cent of the entire budget.
“The truth of the matter is to get our roads up to a reasonable standard following, at the risk of sounding like a stuck record, 13 years of Liberal Democrat and Conservative austerity, will cost £190m and we have a revenue budget of £140.
“We do appreciate the money but it’s nowhere near enough.”
Cllr Rowley asked an additional question, saying: “Is the executive member for transport confident that, should a Labour government take control at some point next year, we will receive that £190m you alluded to?”
The deputy leader said: “No is the short answer.
“I suspect that going into the election belts will be tightened, as we don’t make false promises to the electorate.”
York is the lowest funded local authority in England.
Data from the Institute for Fiscal Studies shows that £3,642 is spent per person in York on all public services, 15.5 per cent below the national average of £4,310 and the lowest out of all 150 local authorities in England.