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General election 2024: Labour promises to fix one million extra potholes a year

Sir Keir vowed a future Labour government would “roll our sleeves up and end the plague of the potholes”, saying: “I want to be able to look those drivers in the face and say we’re getting on with it.”

Recalling his first family car, his father’s Ford Cortina, he added: “I love driving. I still do drive but I love it. Not as much as I would like. And I’m as irritated by the potholes as everyone else, by the way.”

Labour said it was also putting in place long-term measures to remove planning barriers, in order to deliver road infrastructure projects more quickly.

Some critics will question how far the Labour plans go. A report by the Asphalt Industry Alliance last year found it would cost £14 billion to fix all of the potholes in the UK, up from £12 billion the previous year.

It also warned that one fifth of all roads across the country would be undrivable within the space of five years unless action is taken.

Pro-driver policies

Pro-driver policies have become a battleground of the general election, with the Conservatives pledging to “end Labour’s war on motorists”.

The Tory manifesto includes a promise to ban mayors and local authorities from introducing pay-per-mile road pricing.

Any new 20mph zones or low-traffic neighbourhoods would have to be put to a referendum, while there would be a new “right to challenge” existing active travel schemes.

The Conservatives would also reverse Sadiq Khan’s expansion of his ultra-low emissions zone (Ulez) to outer London.

The pothole crisis reached a post-pandemic high this year, with the number reported to councils at its highest since 2020.

This figure is the equivalent of more than 2,700 being flagged to authorities every single day.

The south east of England is the worst area for potholes, the insurance comparison site Confused.com found, while residents in some areas of the UK are being forced to wait more than 18 months for them to be fixed.

More than four million drivers have made insurance claims as a result of pothole damage to their vehicles, although councils can also be claimed against as they are responsible for road maintenance.

Local authorities paid out more than £22.7 million in compensation in 2023, with the average payout totalling £347.

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