Money for Road Repairs

At Wednesday’s Full Council meeting, I spoke on a motion that claimed the Government was “deliberately withholding” funds from Bolton Council, then asked for Councillors to back writing to the Government to ask for more money for road maintenance. Given the wording of the motion and what it was asking for, I felt I had to speak on this motion. Here is my speech.

Bolton Conservatives launching a petition demanding Bolton’s Labour-run Council allocate an extra £10m for our roads and pavements as a priority.

I find myself at a loss with this motion. On the one hand, it is claiming the Government has deliberately withheld funds from Bolton Council, and then on the other hand it is asking the Government to “make new cash available” to local authorities. One of these statements can’t be true, as they quite obviously contradict one-another.

So my first question to Cllr Chadwick is this: are you telling us the Government has kept money from Bolton Council, or are you asking the Government for more money on top of the money they have already given Bolton Council?

If Cllr Chadwick is going to stick with the statement that the Government has withheld funds, this is not the place to be bringing that up. It takes time to bring a motion to Council – I recall this motion being on the agenda for the last meeting, for example – so when vital services need money that hasn’t arrived, time is of the essence. He should be bringing that up with the Government by phone, by email or even by letter. He shouldn’t be drafting a motion and then waiting months for us to discuss it.

So I must conclude that this motion is asking for extra funds to cover more road repairs. Well that’s fine by me. The Conservatives have long been calling for increased road repairs in our Borough, so if we can get more funds to repair more roads, let’s do it – but let’s go further.

Let’s take this opportunity, as the Conservatives have already called for, to use some of this Council’s vast reserves of unallocated funds; and let’s get even more roads repaired.

The hard-working people of Bolton, of Westhoughton, of Farnworth, of Bradshaw and every other part of our borough deserve to see the tax they pay being spent on roads, on footpaths and on public services. It shouldn’t just sit in a bank account, doing nothing.

In conclusion, Madam Mayor, I will support this motion. I support the spirit of the motion, but not the wording. I will therefore vote in favour.

I am all for repairing our roads, we have a lot of issues surrounding roads in Westhoughton (and Bolton as a borough) but to blame the Government for all of this isn’t responsible management of our town.