Sunday, January 24, 2010

How deep can we go?

Over the last few days I've done quite a bit of driving around the bottom half of Buckinghamshire.

The state of the roads is quite shocking. There are potholes everywhere, some of which are quite big. Big as in some are wide, big as in some are deep and big as in some are wide and deep.

The potholes are on busy roads and on quiet roads. They are in the towns and in the countryside.

The potholes will have been caused by the recent long cold weather. Combined with the modern cheap and cheerful way of patching up roads, their really is an epidemic of them.

Last week the Bucks Free Press quoted the Leader of Buckinghamshire County Council as saying that the authority would not be borrowing money to fix the road network stating "Borrow £10million and look for another £1million cut in frontline services".

I totally understand where the Council is coming from, but it doesn't help to fix the roads. If we have another cold snap, some roads will be virtually impassable at anything more than 20 mph.

On a separate but related matter, I was chatting with a fellow commuter last week. I know what he does and where he works, which is in the public sector. Most people would probably want what he does to continue, and to a high standard.

In the upcoming financial year, his department / team / function is facing having its £2.5 million budget cut by over 80%. That means job losses, site closures and significant challenges in the future.

These two examples of public finance problems are what I have heard of in the last few days. Many people simply have no idea of the scale of the economic problem that this country faces.

We are all going to have to face up to a challenging future for public finances. Please do not underestimate the scale of the problem.

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