Birmingham ‘betrayed’ as government slashes £500m from roads budget

The government has confirmed it will cut more than £500m from Birmingham’s roads budget over the next 12 years, sparking outrage from the labour-led council.

Leader of Birmingham City Council Cllr John Cotton said the government has “betrayed Birmingham” and will have a “negative impact on every single person in our city”.

“This is a disgraceful decision that comes at the end of four years of careful negotiation and work from the council and our partners and shows the government’s contempt for Birmingham”.

He called for the need of a Labour Mayor to “stand up for the region and a Labour Government that will keep its word to local authorities”.

Cllr Cotton promised to “continue to fight for the funding that is rightfully ours”.

The Private Finance Initiative (PFI) deal was initially agreed upon in 2010 with Amey securing the 25-year contract, but the firm entered a performance dispute with the council and was forced to pay £215m to be released.

Kier was revealed as the preferred bidder for the £2.7bn PFI deal last month, after taking over the contract from Amey on an interim basis since April 2020.

Still subject to approval by the government, the deal would start in February 2024 and continue until June 2035. Kier would cover 2,500km of roadways and 5,000km of footways across the UK’s largest local authority.

Cllr Liz Clements, cabinet member for transport said: “This decision risks transport chaos in Birmingham. Our ability to complete the essential works required to ensure our residents are safe on the road will be compromised, and this is a huge blow to our ambitious Route to Zero programme, as we will not have the funded needed to maintain our cycle network to give better priority to buses.

“Whether you prefer to walk, cycle, drive or take the bus, your ability to travel safely around our city will be hit by this short-sighted decision from the Tory government.”