THE SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT has spent a staggering £220m on repairing potholes in the last financial year.
The costs are £53 million more than the previous financial year after which seen 17 out of 26 councils overspent on road repairs with East Dunbartonshire exceeding their budget by more than £1 million.
The Scottish Borders were the worst offenders in 2013/14, having been allocated just over £3 million – but ended up spending more than £7 million.
The figures were uncovered by the Scottish Conservatives who want to create an additional pothole fund to enable struggling councils to catch up with their long-standing road repairs.
The UK Government introduced a similar fund in June 2014 which included a condition where councils had to report quarterly on how the money was being used.
Scottish Conservative transport spokesman Alex Johnstone MSP said: “We’re calling for an end to the current slap-dash approach to fixing our roads.
“Thousands upon thousands of road users have to put up with the state of Scotland’s roads every day and many are understandably angry and fed-up.
“This SNP government needs to take a far more strategic and long-term view to fix our road network.
“One possible way to sort our road infrastructure is if the Scottish Government provided a specific pothole fund so councils can bid for cash to spend on fixing potholes and creating a stronger infrastructure.
“We’ve already seen the UK government lead the way in introducing a dedicated fund for road repairs so why not introduce it up here?
“So long as proper measures were put in place to make sure councils used the extra cash on road maintenance I see no reason why it wouldn’t work.
“Our roads are a national embarrassment so it’s time for the SNP to get into gear and put in place a long-term strategy that will bring them into the 21st century.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “In the face of UK Government cuts to the Scottish budget, local government has been treated very fairly, with local councils set to receive a share of funding of almost £10.8 billion in the next financial year, which is a £170 million increase from 2014-15.
By Tony Connelly