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Category: Organisations

  1. RSTA response to Spending Review and National Infrastructure Strategy

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    The Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA) has welcomed the Chancellor’s emphasis on the need for a well-maintained local road network.
     
    The National Infrastructure Strategy, launched today (25th November 2020)  by the Chancellor Rishi Sunak as part of his Spending Review, underlined how “well maintained local roads allow for faster and reliable journeys, boosting local businesses and serving all road users.”
     
    The Strategy confirms the Government commitment of £1.125 billion of local roads maintenance funding in 2021-22 including £500 million for the Potholes Fund to fix potholes and surface roads. This will be supported by £260 million allocated to Local Authorities in 2021-22 for shovel ready local transport schemes through the Integrated Transport Block, including public transport and active travel upgrades. The government is also investing £310 million in 2021-22 in upgrading the road network. Altogether, this means that the government is investing £1.7 billion in local roads in 2021-22.
     
    “Whilst the additional £500 million funding is not new, having already been highlighted in the March budget, the government’s commitment to maintaining the capital maintenance block allocation for improving the local road network, despite the significant public borrowing costs of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, is welcomed and represents a significant overall increase,” said Paul Boss, RSTA chief executive. “We will continue to work with both national and local government to ensure proactive cost effective investment in, what the National Infrastructure Strategy rightly calls, ‘one of the UK’s most valuable public assets.’
  2. BEN ISSUES RALLYING CRY AFTER STRUGGLING TO SUPPORT RECORD DEMAND WITH FALLING INCOME

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    • Ben’s urgent support appeal to ensure no-one faces life's toughest challenges alone
    • The charity is supporting 50% more people while its income falls by £1m
    • Without additional funding, difficult choices may have to be made about which cases to support 

    Ben is making an urgent 'rallying cry' to automotive industry leaders as it faces a 50% increase in demand for services against a £1m income shortfall, following the cancellation of fundraising events including Ben Ball. Without additional funding, Ben may be forced to make difficult decisions about which cases to support. 

    Covid-19 is having an unprecedented impact on the health and wellbeing of the automotive workforce. More and more people are turning to Ben in financial hardship, or are struggling to cope with mental health issues and other life challenges including bereavement. 

    The letter (pictured) from Ben’s Chief Executive, Zara Ross, and Chair of the Board, Steve Nash, outlines how the industry can help ensure no-one faces life’s challenges alone. This letter is also being sent directly to industry leaders, as an urgent plea for support.

    Ben is asking companies to pledge to do three things:

    The pledge

    1. Be an advocate for Ben, ensuring the message of support is promoted widely within their business so everyone knows they are never alone
    2. Encourage colleagues to support Ben through Payroll Giving, Ben’s Big Weekly Lottery and its fundraising products and events
    3. Dig even deeper as a business to help address the £1m shortfall. 

    To show your support, email now via [email protected] or call 01344 298135. 

    Matt Wigginton, Fundraising Director at Ben, said: “This is an urgent situation that we’re facing - our support teams are at breaking point, with more cases than ever before and we don't see that changing. 

    “The issues people are facing are more complex and more urgent than we have ever seen before. If we're unable to fill this funding shortfall then we may not be able to support everyone who turns to us for help. That could have a life-changing impact on someone in your business. 

    “The automotive industry is like a family, we have to look after each other. People will remember what the leaders of our industry do in a time of crisis and I urge everyone to consider how you can help ensure Ben is there for everyone, no matter what. 

    "Amazingly, we have already received pledges for donations of more than £65,000 on the first day of this campaign. Every donation makes a huge difference to people's lives and we'll be celebrating each and every one publicly over the coming weeks. Thank you to those who have already pledged their support.”

  3. USEFULNESS OF POTHOLE AUDIT QUESTIONED

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    The Road Surface Treatment Association (RSTA) has welcomed the Department for Transport’s (DfT) proposed pothole mapping audit and hopes sufficient funds to carry out maintenance and repairs will be forthcoming.
     
    DfT has announced that it will work with local authorities, highway data and mapping company Gaist and on-road businesses such as Deliveroo, Uber, Tesco and Ocado to identify pothole hot spots. This will be first-of-its kind audit of potholes in England. It aims to direct where action against potholes is most needed.
     
    “The DfT initiative to provide a comprehensive nation-wide map of potholes is to be welcomed,” said Paul Boss, RSTA Chief Executive. “However, a map telling where the potholes are will be of little use if local authorities do not have the funds to fix them.”
     
    Since 2010 the government has provided over £1.2 billion solely to help repair potholes on the local road network, however, Boss points out that the latest Asphalt Industry Alliance Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance Survey (ALARM) estimated that it would take 11 years and cost £11.4bn.
     
    “The additional pothole funding equates to £120 million a year and that falls far short of the funding necessary to address the plague of potholes resulting from decades of under investment in the local road network,” said Boss. “Furthermore, the proposed audit is reactive. Whilst we have to fill potholes in the short term, local authorities need certainty of long term funding to ensure they can plan and programme road maintenance that will prevent potholes from forming in the first place.”
  4. Highway maintenance budgets at risk following pandamic cash shortfalls

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    The financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic could see councils across England making budget cuts of up to 20 percent. With road maintenance budgets in the firing line the Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA) is calling for a new approach for the funding and governance of local road networks.
     
    According to the Local Government Association, councils will face additional costs of up to £13 billion this year due to measures required in tackling the pandemic. These additional costs come on top of over a decade in which local authority budgets have been slashed. Between 2015/16 and 2017/18, councils lost 77 percent of their funding from central government used to provide essential services.
     
    The impact of the pandemic has led to many sources of revenue, i.e. the collection of parking fees, drying up. It is estimated that councils could lose up to £1.4 billion from these funding streams, leading to many councils potentially facing a financial black hole. Other losses include £400 million in business rates, fees and charges of £341 million and council tax revenue of £288 million as many people have lost their jobs and others are utilising payment holidays.
     
    To counteract this, the government has allocated a further £3.8 billion to councils in the last two months. But this falls far short of what is required, with many local authorities still reeling from year-on-year cuts to budgets. According to the Local Government Association councils will need up to four times the funding they have been allocated by government so far.
     
    The financial crisis affecting councils post-pandemic could have a significant detrimental impact on highway budgets as councils are forced to use them to pay for social care. The government has announced an additional £2.5 billion highway maintenance funding over the next five years; however, it could cost more than £11 billion to address the current roads repair backlog.
     
    “The additional £500 million a year, although welcomed, is not enough and was allocated pre-Covid. Although following the Transport Select Committee report into local highways funding that was accepted by DfT is envisaged to lead to an announcement of longer term capital funding in the autumn, decades of under investment in the local road network has left a legacy of potholes that needs a new approach if it is to be properly addressed,” said Paul Boss, RSTA Chief Executive.
     
    Boss believes this new approach should be based primarily on prevention rather than cure. He added: “Fixing potholes is just playing catch-up. What is needed is providing councils with a range of simplified governing and funding mechanisms that can enable the development and implementation of planned programmes of maintenance that prevent the deterioration of roads from happening in the first place.”
     
    As part of this new approach the RSTA is calling for the local road network to be treated on parity with the strategic road network which, unlike local roads, has a greater certainty of funding with a 15 year road investment strategy. This contrasts sharply with the annual, often ad hoc, funding for local roads. Funding for local roads should be simplified. Councils have to access a myriad of funding pots which have different legal frameworks, different assessment criteria, business case requirements and timescales. This leads to a lack of effective planning, duplication and waste. Addressing these issues would improve outcomes and value for money. Furthermore, the Government should consider the injection of an additional £1 billion a year into a much-needed programme to address the pothole backlog by investing 2 pence per litre from the existing fuel duty to fix local roads.
     
    Boss concluded: “During the pandemic the Government recognised the essential role that the local road network has in keeping Britain moving. It is time for a new approach that enables councils to ensure that this role is properly realised.”
     
  5. NEW CHANCELLOR ADVISED TO INVEST IN LOCAL ROADS

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    The Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA) has called upon the new Chancellor Rishi Sunak to not only deliver on the Conservative election manifesto pledge of investing £2 billion to repair potholes but to also provide a mechanism for the long-term, assured investment in road maintenance. Mr Sunak, is due to present his budget on 11th March.

    Mike Harper, RSTA Chief Executive said: “It costs on average £52m2 to repair a pothole against the mere £2.50m2 to surface dress and maintain a road. A provision of real levels of long-term assured investment would enable highway authorities to implement planned programmes of road maintenance. This would ensure the good condition or road surfaces and prevent defects and potholes from forming in the first place. Preventative maintenance would be a far more cost effective approach that expensive patch-and-mend.”

    In addition to delivering the Conservative election manifesto pothole pledge, Harper called upon the Chancellor to commit to an injection of £1.5 billion a year to address the local road £9.7 billion maintenance backlog by investing just 2p a litre from the existing fuel duty, provide a funding settlement that enables planned five-year maintenance programmes and address the funding disparity between the strategic road network and the local road network. The strategic road network maintenance receives 53 times more funding per mile than local roads. Yet the vast majority of journeys are undertaken on the local road network.

    Harper said: “The local road network is the UK’s greatest infrastructure asset and is worth some £400 billion. With every road journey starting and ending on a local road, a well-maintained local road network is essential to the national social well-being and economic prosperity. Furthermore, post-Brexit, and as part of levelling-up’ the regions, the government wants to prove that Britain is ready and open for business. The provision of a well-maintained local road network is fundamental to achieving that objective.”