Conservatives Slashed Spending on Island Roads

Council figures show the Conservatives slashed the spending on Island road maintenance

For a while, the question of how much is spent by the Isle of Wight council maintaining Island roads has been in the air, remaining unanswered.

Conservatives Slashed Spending on Island RoadsThe interest in the numbers has arisen due to the ruling Conservative councillors revealing to the people of the Island the amount that will need to be paid to the PFI consortium

Local journalist Mike Starke has today circulated the figures to IW councillors outlining the numbers for the last eight years. He’s sourced them from two council documents (that we’ve embedded below) that were used in the preparation of the PFI bid.

2001/2 £4,522,000 £3,151,000 £7,673,000
2002/3 £4,373,000 £5,450,000 £9,823,000
2003/4 £4,424,000 £4,654,000 £9,078,000
2004/5 £4,650,000 £3,597,000 £8,247,000
2005/6 £4,976,000 £4,287,000 £9,263,000
2006/7 £1,803,228 £1,516,897 £3,320,125
2007/8 £1,661,255 £750,520 £2,411,775
2008/9 £1,969,760 £2,724,633 £4,694,393
Average £3,547,405 £3,266,381 £6,813,787

Massive drop in spend
What jumps out is the significant drop in money spent on Island road maintenance following the years the current Conservative administration came into power at County Hall.

Broadly two-thirds of the spend was lost, with the amount dropping from £9,263,000 to £3,320,125.

The following year the reduction continued with nearly another million less pounds being spent on the roads – £3,320,125 down to £2,411,775.

The last year that these figures cover, the amount nearly doubled – £2,411,775 up to £4,694,393.

Source documents
Isle of Wight Highway Maintenance PFI, Expression of Interest (Internal)

Highways PFI Outline Business Case – December 2009

Wednesday, 30th March, 2011 12:31pm



Filed under: Island-wide, Isle of Wight Council, Isle of Wight News, PFI

Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.

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23 Comments on "Conservatives Slashed Spending on Island Roads"

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Thanks for circulating these figures Mike.

So what happened to the money that was cut from the highways budget during those years? If this money had been used to maintain the roads between 2006 – 2009, then PFI would not have raised it’s ugly head.

We need a truthful explanation from the council regarding this question.

out of touch theconmag

Explanation from this Conservative Council please.


Explanation? You must be joking they cannot honestly explain what’s happened to our £36million reserve since they cane to power! They follow the old adage “never explain, never apologise”


It would be interesting to see a similar comparison for top level salaries and consultants costs over these years, that might show where some of these budget cuts were spent, we certainly haven’t seen a reduction in our Council Taxes over that period!

As we reach the end of March we should recognise it is the 3rd anniversary of gov approval of the IWC’s PFI grant and the 2nd anniverasry of the gov’s decision to withold the IW College building grant has passed. If we compare the fortunes of both the college & council, the college has gone on & is attempting to redefine itself – despite losing a considerable… Read more »
Absolutely shocking! Yes no wonder the roads are in such a state. And remember this was during ‘the good times’ when there was plenty of money sloshing around. What the hell have they been playing at. No wonder they have been getting twitchy about PFI – if it fails to go ahead it will really screw up their plans to get themselves out of this hole (excuse… Read more »

Er, accepting a PFI debt-deal that is approaching 4 times the entire economy is not a solution, no matter what state the roads are in.

My post under – Highways PFI: Streetlamps Will Change to LED Models suggests one solution, a smaller face saving deal.

Sandown Sally
I think it likely that the council crossed their fingers, hoping that they would get the PFI and so failed to maintain the already bad roads. That does not mean they properly understood PFI. Now the awkward squad, aka Mike Starke have discovered the reality of the numbers, opposition will grow even within the Tory group. This PFI is not affordable, its a gross waste of public… Read more »
I personally find the PartnershipsUK and the Guardian’s datablog websites a constant source of imperical information on the Island’s existing PFI deal, waste management. Back in 1997 when the deal started, the Island’s waste mangement capital cost was estimated at £16m The Unitary Charge payments since then have totalled £60.5m with a further estimate of £33.44m still to pay till the end of the contract. Recap –… Read more »
Steephill Jack

Is it possible that the money saved on highways from 2006/7 went towards the school reorganisation, or are these both ring-fenced pots of money ?

@steephill, interesting question – all I can add is that when the council started the current 5 year strategy in 2009/10 it set out the following: The Isle of Wight Council has a vision to become “an efficient council meeting the needs of the island” and the Transformation Programme is key to the delivery of this. To achieve the vision, the Transformation Programme must deliver a council:… Read more »
sue m
It is obvious that they have deliberately neglected the roads and relied totally on the PFI scheme to cover up their negligence. David Pugh and George Brown should explain why they have chosen to allow the roads to fall into such a state of disrepair and explain what they have spent the money on instead. As Lord Lamont, who came up with the idea of PFI for… Read more »

It would be interesting to hear what our MP’s view is on the subject? He for one is in a very strong position in terms of being able to influence his Government’s decision on whether to grant this scheme or not.

Might be a useful place to start applying the pressure?

nick of time

I agree with that. If our MP can grab Cameron’s ear on this one, we could get the pressure we need. Cameron has been quite vocal and public on his dislike of PFIs.

Perhaps we should insist that our MP raises this.


I’ve been pointing this out for over a year.

Steve Goodman
I’m also wondering what AT does for us, at our expense, apart from falling out with his fellow Conservatives running our council. I’m still waiting for answers (to apparently embarassing questions about the local & national economy) due last January; I know one of our best island farms is in great difficulty solely due to the non-payment of money due from his government last year; and I’m… Read more »
Don’t know what AT does, but I see today that his government has presided over the biggest fall in household income for 30yrs, according to the ONS. In fact the only fall since 1981. Combined with the treasury’s predictions that household debts will rise over the next 5 years – now seems like just the wrong time to be investing in projects that cannot produce the type… Read more »
I think that is the point, what have they been spending it upon? We can’t trust them to be honest about that (judging by their malign failure to be open and retreating behind the Freedom of Information Act {which has become the “GYTPFIYBRA” – get you to pay for information yours by right Act} and delaying responses as far as possible). Just a thought, what’s the betting… Read more »
Paul Miller

They are an ‘ALAPFALAP'[As Little as Possible for as Long as Possible] council then?

What these figures show is that, if the Council had kept spending on the roads they would be spending about £11m a year by now and going up with inflation, the cost to the island of the PFI. Anyone who travels on the roads knows they need money spending on them, so either way round (PFI or Council expenditure) £11m a year is needed. The key question,… Read more »
out of touch theconmag

Joe where is the extra six million for the roads P.F.I. going to come from if they only spend five million now.I guess it would come from reserves unfortunately they have spent those already.

Well it depends what they have been spending it on. Looking at it positively they may have thought that when the PFI starts the roads will be sorted out, so until then they can use the money for one-off non-recurring costs, knowing that the money will be needed in the roads budget for the PFI. Alternatively they could have raided the budget for continuing expediture which would… Read more »
sue m

Remember that a huge amount of the money that WE (as taxpayers) will have to pay over the 25 years will be interest payments to private companies, not money actually spent on the roads!!