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28 April 2017

Good local roads vital to healthy local economies

Plumber, florist, window cleaner. What do all these businesses have in common? They are all dependant on local roads, whether that be to receive or distribute deliveries, or to get from job to job. Therefore, poorly maintained roads are a huge problem for smaller firms.

Worryingly, around a third of Scottish local roads are in an unacceptable condition, according to Audit Scotland.

Be Connected There’s also wide variation across the country. In 2014/15 the proportion of roads in an acceptable condition ranged from 44% in Argyll and Bute to 79% in Orkney.

Not only do bad roads cause damage and delay, affecting delivery times and access to the business for customers, dilapidated streets damage civic pride.

That is why in the run up to this year’s local government elections FSB are calling on councils to collaborate with each other to reverse the decline in quality of local roads. We understand that councils are being asked to deliver more with less and maintaining and repairing roads can often take a back seat to other priorities, however for local businesses to grow and thrive the shortcomings in local infrastructure need to be addressed.

Big works like the Queensferry crossing and the missing link in the M8 are vitally important but they need to be complemented by local public work which help small businesses service their local economies.

Investment in local roads can yield substantial benefits for communities across the country. Councils need to develop a plan to fix this chronic problem as soon as possible after the upcoming election and ensure that businesses in their area are able to get trade moving.

Laura McKelvie is Policy and Public Affairs Assistant for the FSB in Scotland

See how FSB have campaigned on this issue