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Pothole issue 'to last seven years'

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Labour has said that motorists could be left to battle poor roads and potholes for the next seven years unless radical new measures are introduced in the way the highways are repaired.

The deteriorating state of the country's roads has been reflected in a rise in car and van insurance claims related to damage caused by potholes.

Labour found in its research that £5.357 billion is required to clear the backlog in road repairs.

However, the 70 councils that provided a cost for clearing their backlogs have a combined annual expenditure on highway maintenance of only £793 million.

This means that the average cost of maintaining roads is seven times higher than local authorities' available budget, and will take a minimum of seven years for the backlog to be cleared unless new measures are introduced, according to Labour.

The party's research also showed that over half (53%) of councils were slashing their repair budgets due to Government spending cuts.

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