The Government’s “stop-go” approach to road maintenance has been criticised by an influential group of MPs.

Margaret Hodge, chairman of the House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts, said surveys showed that public satisfaction with the condition of the nation’s road network was at a record low.

The greatest problems are in London and the South East, according to the Department for Transport.

Speaking as the Committee published its report ‘Maintaining Strategic Infrastructure: Roads’; Mrs Hodge said: “The Department’s piecemeal and stop-go approach to funding for road maintenance in recent decades has made it difficult for highways authorities to maintain roads cost-effectively.

“There has been too much reactive work in response to flooding and other events and not enough focus on preventative work that is less expensive in the long-term.

“The Department’s unpredictable and fluctuating budgets for road maintenance over decades have put value for money at risk.

“Whilst we understand the unpredictable nature of winter weather, too much road maintenance is inefficient because it is reactive and unplanned. Concentrating activity in the winter months is inefficient and costly. Some local highway authorities are far too reactive to events, rather than anticipating, predicting and preventing disrepair.