DERBYSHIRE: Labour pledges £1m to fix roads

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Labour has promised to make an immediate cash injection of £1m to fix Derbyshire’s roads if the party wins the county council elections.

Cllr Anne Western, leader of the Labour group at Derbyshire County Council (DCC), made the pledge after the Conservative-led authority cut £1.9m from its road maintenance budget for the coming year.

She said the cash injection – which would go towards emergency road repairs this summer – will be funded using £1m set aside by Conservative councillors for community grants.

However, DCC’s highways chief Cllr Simon Spencer accused Cllr Western of “political opportunitism” .

DCC has cut more than £5m from its road maintenance budget over the past four years.

In 2011, the authority reduced its winter gritting budget by £1m.

Cllr Western said: “Cutting back on road maintenance when the roads are in such a poor state is crazy.

“Reducing the winter gritting budget by £1m was absolutely ridiculous, given the bad winters we’ve had recently.

“The people of Derbyshire have been let down by this Tory administration – they have put the county on the road to nowhere.

“A Labour-controlled DCC will put back the £1m the Tories stole from the gritting budget and put some emergency funding into road repairs this summer.”

Cllr Spencer said: “This is a case of political opportunitism.

“If Labour was in our position they would face the same challenges – they’ve never told us what they would cut.

“They’re talking about putting £1m into the road maintenance budget using the funding from our Big Society Community Action Grants – but that’s going to disadvantage a lot of local groups.”

In February, DCC approved plans to make savings of £127m over the next four years – on top of £70m already cut.

• DCC has approved extra funding to help speed up pothole repairs.

At a meeting on Tuesday, councillors set aside £824,000 to help tackle the problem.

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