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Road repairs to 'cost £13.4bn'

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The total cost of repairing potholes across England's roads could come to £13.4 billion, according to Labour.

A survey of 152 councils by the party found 40% need around £5.36 billion to complete road repairs in their area.

Of the 111 local authorities that responded to the survey, 92% said they still have a road repair backlog but no money to carry out the work.

Projecting the figures to councils across England, Labour said the total repair bill would be around £13.4 billion.

With councils spending less on road maintenance owing to budget cuts, cash-strapped motorists driving on cracked roads face a greater risk of pothole damage and unnecessary car insurance claims.

The study shows nearly 75% of the councils are reducing their budgets for road repairs in real terms, with 17 local authorities having individual backlogs of over £100 million.

Three county councils - North Yorkshire, Kent and Devon - reported figures in excess of £400 million.

John Woodcock, shadow minister for transport, said: "Instead of continually patching up knackered road surfaces with a bucket of tar we need a proper strategic plan for local roads which could save taxpayers' money a fortune in the long-term."

Responding to the claims, transport secretary Philip Hammond said: "This Government understands what a problem potholes on our roads can be, that's why we are making available £3.2 billion over the next four years for road maintenance and we found an extra £200 million for councils to tackle the consequences of the extreme cold weather last winter."

© Press Association 2011