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Support for fuel duty pothole plan

More than four in five people would support a plan in which money raised from fuel duty was used to repair potholed roads, research has found.

Support is highest in eastern England, Wales and Yorkshire and Humberside, according to a survey by the Local Government Association (LGA).

The LGA said the Treasury got £33 billion a year from fuel duty, while the Government was spending just under £2 billion a year on maintaining and improving roads over the next five years.

The association wants the Government to inject a further £1 billion a year into roads maintenance by investing the equivalent of 2p a litre of existing fuel duty.

This should not be paid for by increasing fuel duty rates, it said.

The survey found 83% of those polled backed the plan, with this figure rising to 90% in Eastern England, 88% in Wales and 85% in Yorkshire and Humberside.

Based on responses from 1,006 adults, the survey also found 20% said they would be more likely to vote in the general election for a party which committed extra money to fixing the roads.

LGA transport spokesman Peter Box said: "We are all fed up with driving on crumbling roads that are not fit for the 21st century.

"Councils work hard to fix millions of potholes every year despite deep funding cuts and multi-million pound compensation costs.

"We want to do more but are trapped in a frustrating and endless cycle of only being able to patch up our deteriorating roads."

He added: "This survey shows that the vast majority of people agree that a small amount of the billions they pay the Treasury each year at the pumps in fuel duty should be reinvested in local areas to bring our decaying roads up to scratch."

RAC Foundation director Professor Stephen Glaister said: "Time and again, the poor state of the road network is the biggest transport concern among the public.

"There is no question more money should be spent on maintenance. Ring-fencing some cash sounds a good idea, but the danger is that you set the amount too low and after the next bad winter you actually need much more than you originally asked for."

A Department for Transport spokesman said: "We are determined to help councils tackle potholes, which is why we have increased funding by more than 27% in this parliamentary term compared with the last one.

"All in all, we are providing councils in England with more than £10 billion from 2010 to 2021 for local highway maintenance, with clear guidance on ensuring it is used efficiently.

"This long-term funding will help councils maintain their roads effectively, and it is important for local government to understand how any suggested backlog has increased and what measures councils can take to address it."

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