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.
What do you think about Labour’s pledge? Which roads in Derbyshire urgently need fixing? Sign up and comment below.
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Thursday 23 May 2013
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