Call for Midlothian Council to receive Holyrood pothole support

Potholes in Mayfield
Potholes in Mayfield

Scottish Conservative MSP Michelle Ballantyne has called on the Scottish Government to help Midlothian Council fix potholes.

Transport Secretary Michael Matheson last week responded to Ms Ballantyne’s Parliamentary question saying that he believed the Government “has treated councils fairly” and that “it is the responsibility of each local authority to manage their own budget”.

Figures obtained by the Scottish Conservatives reveal that there have been 12,000 potholes recorded in Midlothian over the last 10 years.

Last year, the Society of Chief Officers of Transportation in Scotland (SCOTS) raised concerns by suggesting that local authorities do not have enough cash “to maintain roads at the current state”.

Ms Ballantyne and her party have called on the Scottish Government to offer a £100 million action fund to help combat potholes.

She said: “It beggars belief that the Transport Secretary refuses to even acknowledge the problem with our roads. People in Midlothian are no longer driving on the left of the road, they’re driving on what’s left of the road. After continuously cutting council budgets, the SNP now have the gall to tell councils that they’re on their own. “Due to SNP cuts, our councils are struggling and hardworking families in Midlothian are forced to pick up the pieces with increases to their council tax.

“I have written to the Transport Secretary to urge him to join the Scottish Conservatives in promising a £100 million pothole action fund for councils to help them counteract this growing issue.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Despite continued UK Government real terms cuts to Scotland’s resource budget, we have treated local government very fairly – and in the current financial year they received a real terms boost in both revenue and capital funding. Receiving a total local government finance settlement in 2018-19 of £168.3m, and following Midlothian Council’s decision to increase council tax by three per cent, the local authority’s overall increase in spending power to support day-to-day services amounts to £7.7m, or 5.1 per cent.

“The maintenance of local roads is a matter for Midlothian Council.”