Esther McVey on the road to fill pothole problem

Tory minister Esther McVey helped fill a pothole to highlight the Government’s plans to fix the nation’s roads.

Wearing a hard hat and high-viz clothes, Ms McVey grabbed a shovel, filled a barrow and used a wacker plate to level tarmac and repair a pothole on Bengal Street, Leigh, Greater Manchester, with the help of roadworkers.

The Government has been accused of overseeing a “pothole pandemic” on roads because critics say central government has failed to give local councils enough money to maintain the highways.

Esther McVey visit to Leigh
Minister without Portfolio Esther McVey helps repairs potholes in Leigh in Greater Manchester, as she called for councils to ‘get on with it’ and use the £8.3bn allotted to councils to fix potholes (Peter Byrne/PA)

Ms McVey, the Minister without Portfolio, said: “It has to be one of the biggest issues, I think, facing the public, I just wanted to make sure we’re getting the potholes filled.

“There might be a number of reasons for it, for lots of people during lockdown, lots of maintenance wasn’t done.

“So, they could be behind on their schedule, so really, it’s time to get going, fill in those potholes, resurface those roads.

“The Government has handed over a significant amount of money, extra money, £8.3 billion pounds of extra money, the biggest ever funding increase for road surfacing and potholes.”

(PA Graphics)

Ms McVey denied this meant while the south got high-speed rail the north got more tarmac.

She said cash had been poured into projects in the north including the Liverpool freeport and Manchester Metrolink transport system.

Ms McVey added: “No, can I tell you, I was somebody, as were many people in the north, who didn’t agree with HS2 because it was sucking all of the money and life out of rail projects and transport projects in the north.

“This budget ballooned from 37 billion for HS2 up to 180 billion for HS2.

“So many of us thought, ‘Stop it. Give the money to the north to spend it how they see fit.

Esther McVey visit to Leigh
Minister without Portfolio Esther McVey helps repairs potholes in Leigh in Greater Manchester (Peter Byrne/PA)

Ms McVey had also supported the then chancellor George Osborne, when he launched the Pothole Fund, a scheme to fill potholes in 2014.

She added: “To be fair that shows how important this is to me, that I have always said, ‘Let’s get the roads right’.

“More people travel on the roads than anything else.

“This is an ongoing maintenance and what we are seeing now is the biggest investment ever on road resurfacing.

“And what I want to see, so that we are supporting the public, the driving public, the motorist, to make sure that money isn’t sat on.”

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