Difficult 12 months ahead for Lincolnshire roads as inflation hits county highways budget

Lincolnshire’s roads will have a difficult 12 months ahead, as highways councillors are “hoping and praying to whichever religious denomination” that inflation issues costing the council almost £1million extra are just a blip.

Lincolnshire County Council's budget is being squeezed by rising cost of materials.
Lincolnshire County Council's budget is being squeezed by rising cost of materials.

Councillor Richard Davies, executive member for highways at Lincolnshire County Council, said inflation rates were running in some areas at more than 50 per cent for some materials.

The authority’s Highways and Transport Scrutiny Committee was told on Monday that £964,000 had been put aside for the department to tackle rising costs and attempt to protect small and medium enterprises from being put under pressure.

Councillor Tom Dyer raised fears the impact of inflation would mean that highways would have to do less work with the funding it had.

Counr Davies said: “The next 12 months are going to be difficult. We won’t be able to do as much as we like.

“The impact on the network is hard to say at the moment, but everybody’s pulling in the right direction here to make it happen.

“We are hoping, praying to whichever religious denomination that the inflation issues we’re seeing are a blip because it’s cascading across everything.”

Coun Davies noted some projects had seen a 68 per cent increase in the cost of materials.

He added that it was a national picture and needed to be addressed in terms of the area being “vastly underfunded”.

Coun Davies explained the situation was not helped by the government’s behaviour “exacerbating” market problems, and hoped that following the election of the new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak it would “see a period of calm” in which to address the situation.