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Labour hits out at the lack of investment in road repairs in the north


By Gordon Calder

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THE lack of money for road repairs in the Highlands has been lambasted by two Labour candidates in May’s Scottish Parliament elections.

Rhoda Grant, a Labour Highlands and Islands regional list candidate, accused the Scottish Government of "starving Highland Council of cash, leaving a huge hole in the budget for road repairs and maintenance."

Rhoda Grant is unhappy Highland Council is being starved of funding for road repairs
Rhoda Grant is unhappy Highland Council is being starved of funding for road repairs

Although millions are being invested in road repairs by the local authority, it equates to £1,000 a kilometre, said Mrs Grant. The council’s capital budget for 2021/22 is just over £7.2 million. The local authority admitted the pandemic postponed or cancelled some planned maintenance work.

Mrs Grant said: "Put in context that £1,000 sounds a paltry amount and the blame lies squarely at the door of the SNP Government which has starved our councils of money for too long.

"I wonder how many potholes you could find in an average one kilometre stretch of any road in the Highlands just now and I doubt £1,000 could mend it when you add the cost of materials, workers, equipment and travel."

Mrs Grant, who is also standing for Labour in Inverness and Nairn, has been lobbied by residents from across the Highlands very concerned about the state of the roads, with many posting photos of crumbling edges and huge potholes, especially on well-used stretches such as the NC500.

John Erskine, also a regional list Labour candidate in the Highlands and Islands and a contender for the Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch seat, said: "The council’s area committee will soon be meeting to divvy up a good proportion of the cash locally – what a job they will have. We know the SNP Government has turbo charged austerity in Scotland affecting council services across our region. The SNP needs to be brought to account for shameful budget cuts."


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