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Motorists bear brunt of cuts to road repairs

Holes in roads, potholes

Road repair backlog is now £1.5 billion (pic: Terry Murden)

Cuts to road maintenance budgets will mean more motorists making insurance claims for damage to their vehicles, says Scottish Labour.

It says claims against local authorities are directly linked to road repair budget cuts and has warned that worse is to come.

A Freedom of Information request to Scottish councils showed a backlog of repairs amounting to at least £1.5bn.

The data also revealed that it would cost more than £317m to maintain Scotland’s roads at a “steady state”. It now means many councils are struggling to deliver basic services such as fixing potholes.


Scottish Labour also asked local authorities how many insurance claims they received where poor road maintenance was cited as a reason for vehicle damage. Of the local authorities who provided information in response to this question (19 of 32), of these 68% had seen increases in claims.

Scottish Labour has said the figures show a clear link between an increase in insurance claims and declining road quality.

Transport spokesman Colin Smyth said: “Many of our streets and highways have fallen into shocking disrepair, even before the pandemic, due to SNP government neglect.

Local authorities have been forced to pass on SNP government cuts which means fewer streets, pavements and motorways will be gritted or repaired – causing untold damage to cars and putting people in danger.

“There may be fewer vehicles on the roads at the moment but for essential personnel who need to travel by car it will be a worrying time. The SNP government cannot take short cuts with lives and must end its budget squeezes on vital services.

“Scottish Labour will fight to get Scotland’s transport network back on its feet with properly funded councils, who can maintain safe roads for drivers and pedestrians, and keep Scotland moving.”

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