Wednesday, 16 July 2008

It's Time To Repair East Renfrewshire's Crumbling Roads Network

The last time the National Audit Office published statistics on the condition of Scotland's roads they proved what we all already knew, East Renfrewshire has the worst roads and pavements in Scotland! Given we also have the highest car ownership levels in Scotland, I think it is fair to assume things are only going to get worse given the lack of major action to tackle this issue by East Renfrewshire Council.

In February of this year East Renfrewshire's Conservative Councillors proposed a budget amendment that would added an additional 50% to the roads repair and renewal budget for this year. Pretty good given the limited resources of our local authority, but even this would not have been enough. The current roads budget of £667,000 per annum doesn't begin to touch what needs to be done and yet the administrations Councillors voted against our cost neutral proposal to increase this budget to £1,001,000.

That is why I believe it is time someone spoke up for the overwhelming majority of local people who want something done to repair and renew our roads and pavements. What we need is the largest local authority roads budget in Scotland and I have a radical solution to deliver this without increasing Council Tax.

East Renfrewshire Council are soon to announce the creation of a £12million college, to be based in Barrhead. This college, we are told, will provide practical training for the unemployed seeking to retrain for work. On closer examination, the courses the new East Renfrewshire College will provide duplicate many of those provided by nearby Reid Kerr and Cardonald Colleges, both of whom have spare capacity at the present time.

As £3million of the total spend is coming from a central government grant the remaining £9million will come from Council Tax revenues. I believe this £9million would be better spent renewing our crumbling roads and pavements network, a massive 1350% increase to our roads repair budget, and will campaign for Council Tax to be spent on a local priority rather than a pet political project!

Coming Soon: my solution to better, more cost effective road repair and renewal.

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