A shocking report by one of the UK’s leading motoring organisations shows that councils in England and Wales are cutting road safety budgets almost en masse.
The report from the Institute of Advanced motorists (IAM) shows that on average every council in the UK is cutting spending on road safety priorities such as lollipop ladies, rehabilitation courses for errant drivers, training and information for new drivers and even safe routes to school schemes. The news will come as a setback to many motorists who believed that a recent meeting between government ministers, car insurance providers, and road safety experts had vowed to make road safety a priority.
Figures taken from councils who responded to IAM’s information request show that between them they intend to take over £23 million away from road safety initiatives in the next 12 months. IAM Chief Executive Simon Best was appalled at the information gathered in the report and said: “Austerity is forcing councils to make difficult choices, but the fact that these cuts only represent the first year of savings under the coalition’s spending review is deeply worrying. Cutting road safety so hard makes no sense. The average wage of a lollipop lady is £3,000 a year while the cost of each road fatality is £1.6 million. So the returns on investment are huge. Cuts of this scale risk lives as well as the UK’s table-topping status as the best in the world for road safety. The government needs to bring back casualty reduction targets so that councils make road safety a priority.”
Government sources said they had not actually taken any money away from local councils but had in fact given them a sum of money for them to choose how they spend it. A Government spokesman also pointed out that the Government had already made one off payments to local authorities to help them with road maintenance work after the two recent harsh winters.