£6m Road Repair Budget Underspent, Council Discloses

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A recent report presented to councillors has revealed that Brighton and Hove City Council’s £6 million allocation for road repairs and pothole filling was not fully utilised within the expected timeframe. This disclosure prompted questions from a Labour councillor regarding the fate of the unspent portion of the grant, with concerns raised about its potential return to the government.

The council’s chief financial officer clarified that the funding, received as a capital grant from the Department for Transport (DfT), would not be subject to reclamation by the government. He explained, “The issue here lies in our capacity to undertake repairs and spend the grant within the anticipated timeframe. There have been some challenges surrounding this capacity and acquiring the necessary supplies for repairs. I understand that delays have occurred in utilising the grant as quickly as desired. However, it is important to note that we will not forfeit the grant; instead, it will be carried forward and spent accordingly.”

Regarding the matter, a Green councillor remarked, “There appears to be no shortage of holes to fill, but there may be a lack of individuals available to address them.” These discussions unfolded during a meeting of the council’s Audit and Standards Committee at Hove Town Hall.

According to the report presented to the committee, the council did not fully expend the £6.26 million capital grant from the DfT Pothole Fund, Integrated Transport Block, and Highways Maintenance Block during the 2022-23 fiscal year.

The council’s financial officer further explained that unlike certain government grants, there is no specified timeframe for spending road repair funding. Consequently, any unspent funds from the previous fiscal year would be carried forward into the capital programme for the subsequent financial year, ensuring eventual utilisation.

Queries arose regarding whether the council’s recruitment freeze, enacted to mitigate the 2023-24 in-year budget deficit, impacted the capacity to carry out road repairs. However, the council clarified that the freeze did not affect “highways maintenance” as it was managed by a contractor. The freeze, which concluded on Monday 1 April, did not hinder road repair operations.

The council disclosed that the workforce engaged in road repairs typically fluctuates, with approximately 20 individuals comprising a reactive team available each week.

In a reassuring statement, the council affirmed that all grant funds allocated for pothole repairs and road maintenance from the 2022-23 financial year had either been expended or earmarked for specific projects.

The underspending of the road repair budget highlights ongoing challenges in optimising infrastructure maintenance despite the availability of funds. With the assurance that the unutilised grant will be carried forward for future use, attention now shifts towards enhancing operational efficiency to address the persisting backlog of road repairs and pothole filling across Brighton and Hove.

The council’s commitment to ensuring the efficient allocation of resources remains pivotal as it strives to uphold the safety and quality of the city’s road network for its residents and commuters alike.

Dawn Jackson
Dawn Jacksonhttps://newswriteups.com/
Journalist Dawn is an experienced business journalist specializing in regional coverage across the United Kingdom. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for uncovering stories that impact local communities, Dawn brings a unique perspective to her work. Through her insightful reporting, she keeps readers informed about the latest developments in various regions, shedding light on the economic landscape and entrepreneurial endeavours. Dawn's dedication to delivering accurate and engaging business news makes her a valuable asset to the News Write Ups team. dawn@newswriteups.com

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