While some General Election manifesto commitments divide opinion, there can have been few people spluttering into their tea cups over Boris Johnson’s pledge to tackle the appalling state of the UK’s roads over the next four years.
Whatever your views on Brexit, the Tories’ promise to “get potholes done” was surely welcomed by households up and down the land, particularly those who have faced expensive bills for new tyres, shock absorbers or even wheels over the past few years.
The plan – if the country returns a Conservative government – is to spend £500m a year for four years on filling potholes. That’s a total of two billion pounds, ten times the amount that the party announced in March.
What the local authorities spending the money need to realise is that to get the best value out of this not-inconsiderable sum of money, they need to spend it wisely on quality repairs that may cost a bit more but will last a lot longer.
As Council Tax payers we all expect our local councils to spend our money (and remember, its only our money, no-one else’s) wisely, so it’s right that they should use a competitive tendering system to ensure they are getting a good deal.
The problem comes when the only metric they use when considering the results of that tender is price, choosing the cheapest supplier regardless of the quality of workmanship or material that supplier is capable of delivering.
We all know the danger of buying the cheapest product on the market, and the false economy of saving a few pounds on something that needs to be replaced so often that it works out more expensive in the long run than buying a quality item in the first place. Sadly that can also be true of groundworks, particularly when cash-strapped local councils feel they have to accept the cheapest price every time.
At Getting There Groundworks we always aim to be competitive on price, but that aim comes second to our primary goal of delivering a first-class result. When we fix a pothole, it stays fixed. We do the job properly, using our own tarmacing workforce and our own machinery and focusing on doing the job properly.
It may only be a pothole, but to us it is an example of the quality of our workmanship and we give it the same attention to detail as we do to a new car park, road scheme or private drive. And as motorists we know how important it is to “get potholes done”, once and for all.
The other interesting item in the manifesto was for a new National Skills fund of £3bn over five years, an idea that also features in the Labour and Lib Dem documents. Our hope is that a significant portion of that cash will be directed towards the construction industry to give us a pool of qualified young workers for the future.