Welcome to the Public Works blog.

Public Works is UNISON Scotland's campaign for jobs, services, fair taxation and the Living Wage. This blog will provide news and analysis on the delivery of public services in Scotland. We welcome comments and if you would like to contribute to this blog, please contact Dave Watson d.watson@unison.co.uk. For other information on what's happening in UNISON Scotland please visit our website.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Potholes indicate a crumbling infrastructure


Potholes have cost Scottish councils £228,000 in compensation claims in just one year. That's the equivalent of over £600 a day.

50,000 drivers across the UK made a claim. This is the equivalent of roughly one claim being submitted every eleven minutes day and night, 365 days a year and an increase on the 2012/13 figure of 46,139 claims. It also costs councils £109 to administer each claim.

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said the figures were likely to be “the tip of the iceberg” as many drivers are put off by the time and effort involved in making a claim. He said: “The fundamental problem lies with central ­government. They are simply not giving councils enough money to keep their road networks up to scratch.”

The Scottish data for each council can be viewed here.

Potholes are just the latest example of the impact of cuts on council services. As they go into the 2015 budget setting process, most are trying to balance the books through the salami slicing of services. You can get away with poor maintenance for a year or two, but eventually it catches up. By making councils bear the brunt of austerity cuts in Scotland we are presiding over a crumbling infrastructure.

This was also highlighted in Audit Scotland’s overview of local government spending last year.

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