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Stop. Hammer time.

Every year, the council are allocated a lump of money for road maintenance — an interesting oxymoron. If they spend it all; tough. If they don’t spend it all, central government turn around the year after and say “Well, you didn’t need all of it last year so we’ll give you less this coming year because you can manage”.

Given this arbitrary target, councils up and down the country do the only logical thing: spend some of it only where they have to for ten months of the year and then blow the rest in the remaining two months — February and March — before the new fiscal year kicks in.

Thus for two months of the year our roads are gridlocked as workmen scramble to spend the remainder on things that don’t really need doing. Like putting traffic lights on the approach to roundabouts, cutting trees, filling in holes by digging others nearby, or eating sandwiches alongside twenty cones and a jackhammer.

The whole thing is a farce and is once again testament to the fact that targets are no good for anybody… with the possible exception of people shot from circus cannons.

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