A Scottish Government Minister has revealed this week that the SNP Government will not assist East Lothian Council in repairing potholes in the area.
When asked whether the Scottish Government will take action to improve East Lothian roads, the Transport Secretary, Michael Matheson, responded to the Parliamentary Question (PQ) saying that he believes the Scottish Government “has treated councils fairly” and that “it is the responsibility of each local authority to manage their own budget”.
Earlier this week, the SNP Government have been blasted after an Audit Scotland report highlighted that the amount of money councils receive from the Scottish Government has decreased by 2.3% in real terms over the last year. Currently, East Lothian Council’s net debt is 150% higher than its net revenues.
The Scottish Government has slashed local authority budgets in recent years and they face the threat of more than £1 billion of cuts between now and 2021, according to the Fraser of Allander Institute.
The council have attempted to counteract this by raising council tax by 3% under new legislation that allows councils to do so.
Potholes have become an increasingly concerning issue in East Lothian. Figures obtained by the Scottish Conservatives reveal that there have been over 28,000 recorded potholes in East Lothian over the last ten years.
Last year, the Society of Chief Officers of Transportation in Scotland (SCOTS) raised concerns by suggesting that local authorities do not have enough cash “to maintain roads at the current state”.
Scottish Conservative MSP, Michelle Ballantyne, has criticised the response she received from the Transport Secretary and has called on the Scottish Government to join the Scottish Conservatives in offering a £100 million action fund to help combat potholes.
Michelle Ballantyne MSP commented:
“It beggars belief that the SNP’s Transport Secretary refuses to even acknowledge the problem with our roads. People in East Lothian are no longer driving on the left of the road, they’re driving on what’s left of the road.
“After continuously cutting council budgets, the SNP now have the gall to tell councils to that they’re on their own.
“Due to SNP cuts, our councils are struggling and hardworking families in East Lothian are forced to pick up the pieces with increases to their council tax.
“I have written to the Transport Secretary to urge him to join the Scottish Conservatives in promising a £100 million pothole action fund for councils to help them counteract this growing issue.”