Councils struggling to repair roads savaged by the winter’s ice and rain are to receive an extra £10 million from the Scottish Government.
The money will be shared among the country’s 32 local authorities, who are responsible for all but trunk roads like motorways and main routes.
It compares to the £554m spent by councils on roads in 2016-17. Road conditions then had improved slightly compared to 2010-11, despite a 12 per cent cut in spending over that period.
Finance secretary Derek Mackay said: “Scotland experienced unprecedented levels of extreme weather in recent months, culminating in the issuing of our first-ever red alert for snow by the Met Office in late February [since the warning criteria changed in 2011].
“The severe weather led to local authorities incurring unexpected additional costs to their maintenance budgets, and simultaneously caused more damage to Scotland’s road network.
“By assisting councils to keep our road networks safe and efficient, we’re not only improving conditions for road users, we’re also extending the life span of that network - benefiting the wider economy.
“We have agreed a local government finance settlement of £10.7 billion, which will provide a real terms boost in both revenue and capital spending to support local services, including winter maintenance.”
Gail Macgregor, resources spokeswoman for the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, which represents most councils, said: “During the severe weather Scotland experienced in February and March, local authorities worked tirelessly to ensure their communities were safe – clearing roads and pavements and making sure essential services reached our most vulnerable throughout.
“While councils budget for the impacts of winter weather, the ‘Beast from the East’ was unexpected and led to a significant financial strain.
“We are pleased the Scottish Government has recognised the impact on councils with this additional funding.
“However, the financial toll will continue to be felt for some time.”
Ms Macgregor said allocation of the money between councils would be decided at the end of the month.
Andy Willox, Scottish policy convener of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “We have repeatedly warned that bad local roads make it difficult to do business in many parts of Scotland.
“While a longer-term solution regarding road repairs and maintenance is required, the funding announcement is hugely welcome.
“Many in business will hope it signals a change in attitude from government regarding the importance of local infrastructure.”