Labour hits back at Coalition roads pledge

Councillor Scott Dickinson
Councillor Scott Dickinson

Labour has belatedly hit back at what was described as a record investment in the region’s roads, claiming it really represents a cut.

In December, the Gazette reported that Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin had announced that a record £268million will be spent on improving local roads between 2015 and 2021 in the North East – with £91million allocated to Northumberland.

It was said to be the first time local authorities have been given locked-in funding over this length of time, which will help them plan ahead and save money for the taxpayer.

Labour is now pointing to the small print and highlighting that the original funding formula would have given the council the same settlement over five years yet the Christmas announcement means the deal will last six years, which essentially represents a cut in funding.

Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Berwick, Scott Dickinson, said: “In north Northumberland, this cut in transport funding will mean no extra money for vital projects and comes on the back of the announcement of a £3million cut in council funding and a dualled A1 which stops 25 miles short from Berwick.

“Coalition announcements are more spin than substance and they’re sticking two fingers up at residents. The Coalition and its representatives should apologise for misleading people. People will rightly question whether they can believe further spin from a London-based Coalition and its local apologists.”