Small businesses seek pothole funding

The Federation of Small Businesses is calling on the government to deliver on its manifesto pledge to provide £2 billion in funding to fill the thousands of potholes.

Marking National Pothole Day, the organisation points to its own findings which show that across England, 700,000 potholes were reported in 2018/19, covering around 28km, the equivalent height of 292 Big Bens. In total, almost £1 billion was spent fixing damaged roads and holes in 2018/19.

Last August, the FSB revealed that local authorities receive a pothole complaint every 46 seconds, and more than £1.9 million had been paid out in compensation to claimants that had their vehicles damaged last year.

Small businesses rely heavily on the road network, with 89 per cent of small firms considering it to be important, for their staff, customers and trade deliveries.

Mike Cherry, FSB national chair, said: “When roads are poorly maintained, this can seriously hamper small firms from going about their business by causing significant damage to vehicles that are often critical to businesses often working without large capital reserves.

“Ahead of the 2019 General Election, we called on the next government to not only provide funding to fill potholes that are causing millions of pounds of damage every year, but to go further and ensure that local councils have the resources to provide ongoing road maintenance. While money is important, simply offering piecemeal funding will not fix the problem at hand, which is why equipping local authorities with the means to fix and maintain roads is so critically important. Prioritising this will mean that road defects are stopped from developing into potholes, saving time and money further down the line.”