Foord: ‘Budget has more holes than the A373’

13 Mar 2024
Richard Foord MP Speaking in Parliament

Speaking in Parliament, Liberal Democrat MP Richard Foord hit out at the Conservative Government’s Budget as nothing more than a patch-up job, which fails to fix Devon’s crumbling roads, support health & social care services, or offer relief to those pensioners who are only just scraping by.

In the final day of debate on the Budget, Mr Foord urged MPs to avoid getting wrapped up in the ‘Westminster Bubble’ and think instead about how the budget would impact people living in communities across the country.

He talked about Devon’s notorious potholes, which continue to plague roads across rural Devon, and which for many people symbolise our decaying infrastructure under this Conservative Government.

Last year, Devon County Council admitted they could no longer continue to maintain all local roads. Instead, they would focus on maintaining ‘priority’ roads, whilst others would undergo a ‘managed decline’.

This is due to years of budget squeezes by Westminster, which have seen cutbacks to core services – including road maintenance. Just 18.6 miles of road were resurfaced in Devon last year, compared to 273.6 miles five years previously.

The Conservative leader of the Council, Cllr John Hart, has spoken about additional funding for pothole repair being a “drop in the ocean” - and how sums from the Westminster Government last year were almost totally wiped out by inflation.

Tiverton & Honiton MP Richard Foord said:

“Rather than taking action to fill the holes in our crumbling roads, the latest Conservative Budget is merely another patch-up job and is not designed to last.

“For the first time in over one hundred years, it’s almost more reliable to traverse parts of Devon’s countryside on horseback rather than behind the wheel of your car. This is a dire state of affairs, resulting from Conservative mismanagement of our public finances.

“Just five years ago, over 270 miles of road were repaired every year. Last year, it was just 18 miles, because the Council simply does not have the means to provide essential infrastructure on which communities and local businesses depend.

“Our towns and villages deserve better than managed decline. They deserve roads that are safe and well maintained – so they can travel without fear of wrecking their car – or worse. Sadly, this Government is failing on every measure.

“The Conservatives are puffed out and limping to the finish line. Here in the West Country, it’s time to demand better than this failing Government and elect a strong team of Liberal Democrat MPs to demand better of the next Government for our communities.”

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