I WANTED to call this week’s column: The Road To Ruin. Or: How on earth have we let things get this bad?

I’m talking about a subject guaranteed to enrage us all – potholes.

Can I say from the outset I really don’t care exactly whose fault it is.

Politicians of all colours delight in blaming each other. The councils say it’s the government’s fault because the system of local government is broken.

Central government says some local authorities are just mishandling their budgets.

Whoever is right, the fact is between them they are taking more of our money.

Taxes, national and local, have gone up. Road tax has gone up. So where is that money being spent? Not on our roads, I’d argue.

This week I counted 72 potholes, or significantly scarring of the tarmac (enough to worry you if you’re on two wheels), on a seven-mile stretch of the A38 between Taunton and Wellington. And this is a main trunk road!

Now I do travel that road on two wheels and, believe me, these days it’s scary.

So, I asked Somerset Council for some statistics – and they make interesting reading.

In 2022 the council received 5,630 complaints about potholes and repaired 17,594.

In 2023 complaints had risen to 12,303 (more than twice as many) and repairs to 27,379.

And in just three months of this year, complaints had already reached 4,465 (almost as many as for the whole of 2022). Repairs had risen to 8,499.

Now I’m no engineer, but these dramatically rising figures imply to me that our roads just aren’t being properly maintained or repaired.

If you keep just “patching over” a problem, that problem will get worse.

So how about they (national and local government) spend more money – you know the money they’ve taken from us – and do the job properly? After all, council tax alone in Taunton is increasing by more than 13 per cent this year. And where on earth does our road tax go? When was the last time you saw a road near you being properly resurfaced?

The council tells me there will be more money in the budget for next year for highway repairs.

It’s rising from £2.25 million to £2.63 million. 80 per cent per cent will go on pothole repairs.

Now to me, that doesn’t sound like a lot of extra money to fix so many extra potholes. And, at the end of the day, it’s still just patching over the problem.

Sounds like the road to ruin to me!