Labour's election campaign has fallen down a pothole

Labour’s election campaign has fallen down a pothole

Labour’s election campaign has fallen down a pothole. When did filling them in become a general election issue?

For once, Keir Starmer is not to blame; roads have fallen into disrepair because the Conservatives have been starving local authorities of funding for the last 15 years.

Now, when losing power seems a certainty, the Tories are promising to put £8.3 billion into road repairs between this year and 2034.

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It seems Labour has been dragged into topping this offer, and the party is doing it by deferring a planned A27 Arundel bypass in Sussex.

A BBC article says it is not clear when Labour would aim to build it although, as it also states that the deferral will make an extra £320 million available over five years, This Writer is guessing that it might happen sometime after 2030.

So now the Tories have opened up a chance to run Labour down; they’re rolling out all the criticisms they rehearsed during the local elections – blanket 20mph speed limits and the expansion of London’s ultra-low emissions zone (ULEZ) being the favourites.

Sadly for them, their offensive went into reverse when “a Tory spokesman” came out with a line as ridiculous as “Labour continues to sacrifice motorists for their eco zealot agenda”.

In fact, Labour’s proposal is more practical than that of the Tories, because it addresses problems that cost us money that would be better-used elsewhere.

Labour said its analysis indicated that pothole damage cost drivers nearly £500m last year, with the average repair charge worth around £250, and the AA has said potholes are viewed as the most important transport issue by drivers.

In addition, poor or defective roads were given as a factor in 20 cyclists being killed and 470 seriously hurt between 2012 and 2022, PA news agency analysis of Department for Transport figures for England has shown.

Labour has also committed to tackling rising car insurance costs by ensuring regulators cracked down on the causes of soaring prices. Considering the cost of repairing all this pothole damage, This Writer can imagine what those causes might be.

The simple fact is that the Tories should never have allowed our roads to fall into such a shocking condition. It’s dereliction of duty that might even stretch to reckless endangerment – so they have no right to criticise another party for trying to fix the harm they have caused.

Sadly, Labour’s offer is a promise made under Keir Starmer’s leadership – and is therefore practically worthless.

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