But that's about a fifth of what filling all the UK's potholes would cost.
The Conservative party has promised to spend £2 billion on “the biggest ever pothole-filling programme” if it gets into power at the next election.
In its manifesto, the party has promised to “improve the quality of our roads” with a four-year programme with £500 million of funding each year. According to the party, the authorities responsible for the maintenance of local roads will be given the money in order to organise their own repairs.
In a tweet published yesterday, Tory leader Boris Johnson simply said of his policy: “Let’s get those potholes fixed.”
Over the past few years, the Conservative government has already pledged millions for pothole repairs, but the scale of the problem has dwarfed those cash injections. According to the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA), it would cost £9.7 billion to fix all the potholes in England and Wales alone, and the Local Government Association (LGA), which represents councils, described a £100 million pothole repair fund announced last year as a “drop in the ocean”.
The AIA’s figures suggest the £2 billion cash injection would only be enough to fill roughly a fifth of the potholes in England and Wales, let alone those in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Nevertheless, money freed up to fix potholes has generally been greeted with pleasure by motoring organisations, with the RAC saying earlier this year that “more money to fix potholes is, of course, welcome”.
Although there’s no direct mention of potholes in the Labour manifesto, the party has promised to “invest to make our neglected local roads, pavements and cycleways safer for the everyday journeys of both drivers and vulnerable road users”. Speaking of the Conservative manifesto, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said it was a “manifesto for billionaires”.
“They bought it and you’ll pay for it,” he said. “Boris Johnson can’t be trusted. Labour will deliver the real change Britain needs, so that no one is held back and no community left behind.”
Fixing potholes is one of two key pledges for motorists in the Conservative manifesto, with the other being the promise of free hospital car parking to “protected groups”, including disabled people and visitors to relatives who have an “extended stay” in hospital. The party says this will make the NHS “as accessible as possible” for those who have little choice but to travel by car, but will not lead to congested car parks.
In comparison, the Labour party manifesto has promised to provide “free hospital parking” for patients, staff and visitors.
“Under this proposal NHS staff on daytime shifts and the majority of outpatients will still have to pay for parking, leaving people out of pocket just for using public services,” said Andrew Gwynne, Labour’s co-campaign coordinator. “In Wales, Labour has shown it’s possible to end this tax on sickness. If the Tories are genuinely committed to ending this problem they have to go further and match Labour’s pledge to ban all charges.”