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Extra cash to mend damaged roads

Councils are to get an additional £140 million to fix roads damaged by England's record wettest winter , the Government announced.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said a fund specifically targeting the worst-hit areas would be raised by £36.5 million to £80 million.

All councils will also share in a £103.5 million boost to the money available for fixing potholes and other dangers facing drivers.

Town hall chiefs have demanded emergency cash to deal with a "daunting trail of destruction" to the already dilapidated network left behind by recent flooding.

Most councils are expected to receive the extra money by the end of this week in a bid to ensure works are completed before the summer holidays.

In return they will be required to publish on websites by the end of August details of how it was used.

The Department for Transport said the funds - which take the total budget to £1 billion for 2013/14 - had been found through savings made elsewhere over the year.

Mr McLoughlin said: "Having the right infrastructure in place to support businesses and hardworking people is a crucial part of our long-term economic plan.

"This extra money will help make a real difference to the millions of road users and local residents who rely on local roads, giving them safer and smoother journeys."

The Sunday Telegraph said its survey of councils suggested that there was a significant increase in compensation claims by drivers who hit potholes last year.

At least 40,000 sought payouts, it said, but the average amounts received fell to around a sixth of the average level in 2012.

AA president Edmund King said; "Even though we haven't had the traditional ice and snow this winter, the relentless rain has taken its toll on many roads.

"Some road surfaces have been eroded away by rain and cause particular danger for those on two wheels as well as damage for those on four wheels.

"The funding is welcome but we will still be playing catch-up once this money runs out. Potholes and the cost of fuel are the top two issues for our members and both could do with extra help."

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