Currently reading: Government pledges £8.3bn to repair UK roads
Cash taken from now-scaled back HS2 high-speed rail project

The government has pledged to spend £8.3 billion to repair Britain's pothole-cratered roads – money diverted from the scaled-back HS2 high-speed rail project.

This fund, Westminster said, is enough to resurface over 5000 miles of road and will be allocated to councils across the country for projects over the next 11 years.

It's the biggest road-specific fund ever announced in the UK.

Transport secretary Mark Harper confirmed today that each local authority will now receive £150m, followed by a further £150m for 2024/2025. The rest of the funding allocated through to 2034.

Of the cash, £3.3bn has been allocated for those in the North West, North East and Yorkshire and Humber; £2.2bn for the West Midlands and East Midlands; and £2.8bn for East of England, South East, South West and, for the first time in eight years, London. 

“For too long, politicians have shied away from taking the right long-term decisions to make life easier for families - tackling the scourge of potholes being a prime example,” said prime minister Rishi Sunak.

“Well-maintained road surfaces could save drivers up to £440 each in expensive vehicle repairs, helping motorists keep more of the cash in their pocket.”

Harper added: “Most people travel by road, and potholes can cause misery for motorists, from expensive vehicle repairs to bumpy, slow and dangerous journeys. 

“Today’s biggest-ever funding uplift for local road improvements is a victory for all road users, who will enjoy smoother, faster and safer trips, as we use redirected HS2 funding to make the right long-term decisions for a brighter future.”

The new cash follows from a further £70m earmarked for updating 20mph-zone guidance to “help prevent inappropriate blanket use” and measures to speed up the roll-out of EV chargers.

New £8.3bn road fund welcomed

The fund has been welcomed by some of the UK's biggest insurers and motoring groups.

RAC head of policy Simon Williams claimed smoother, well-maintained roads could save drivers up to £440 each in repair costs from pothole damage.

Welcoming the news, he said: “Drivers’ biggest bugbear of all is the poor condition of local roads, so the fact the government has found a significant additional pot of revenue should give councils the certainty of funding they need to plan proper long-term road maintenance – something we've been calling for many years.

“We hope local authorities will use the money in the most effective way possible by resurfacing the very worst roads, keeping those in reasonable condition in better states for longer through surface dressing and filling potholes as permanently as possible wherever necessary.

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“This should in time go a considerable way to bringing our roads back to a fit-for-purpose state and saving drivers hundreds of pounds in the process from not having to fork out for frustrating repairs to their vehicles.”

His thoughts were backed by AA president Edmund King, who said: “Perilous roads blighted by potholes are the number-one concern for drivers and a major issue for bikers, cyclists and pedestrians. 

"So far this year, the AA has attended more than 450,000 pothole-related breakdowns. The damage caused can be a huge financial burden for drivers but is also a major safety risk for those on two wheels.

“The £8.3bn plan can make a considerable difference in bringing our roads back to the standards which road users expect, especially if councils use the cash efficiently to resurface our streets.

"As well as safer roads, eliminating potholes gives confidence to people wanting to cycle and instils pride of place within local communities.” 

Will Rimell

Will Rimell
Title: Deputy news editor

Will is a journalist with more than eight years experience in roles that range from news reporter to editor. He joined Autocar in 2022 as deputy news editor, moving from a local news background.

In his current role as deputy news editor, Will’s focus is with Autocar and Autocar Business; he also manages Haymarket's aftermarket publication CAT.

Writing is, of course, a big part of his role too. Stories come in many forms, from interviewing top executives, reporting from car launches, and unearthing exclusives.

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Andrew1 17 November 2023
But can they repair them so they don't break next year?
8bn is a shitload of money. HS2 would have worked for decades. The repaired roads need repairing again very soon, because they are always repaired on the cheap, yet very expensive.
martin_66 17 November 2023

£8.3 Billion.  That will sort out the roads in my village, but what about the rest of the country?

Bob Cholmondeley 17 November 2023

"New £8.3bn road fund welcomed"


In the run-up to the next general election, the Tories will likely promise even more but, none of this £8.3bn will have actually been delivered.

Peter Cavellini 19 November 2023
Bob Cholmondeley wrote:

"New £8.3bn road fund welcomed"


In the run-up to the next general election, the Tories will likely promise even more but, none of this £8.3bn will have actually been delivered.

And where does the Government get all this money from?, why aren't we consulted?, I'm sure we'd have a better idea,oh, wait, it would take us longer and it would never get done.