Pothole ‘epidemic’ hits AA profits hard


Bad road conditions and extreme weather in the UK have led to a drop in profits at the AA.

The motorists’ organisation saw its pre-tax profit decline 65% to £28m for the first six months of 2018.

AA boss Simon Breakwell said the severe winter caused a “pothole epidemic”, which contributed to breakdown callouts hitting a 15-year high.

AA had previously warned that drivers and insurers were losing £1m a month repairing damage caused by potholes.

The motorists’ organisation says the number of claims for the first four months of 2018 already equal those for the whole of last year.

It said there was a pothole “epidemic” that was a “national embarrassment”.

The Department for Transport said it was spending £23bn on England’s roads to improve journeys, which included a pothole action fund.

Based on its share of the car insurance market, the AA has extrapolated that there have been 4,200 such claims this year across the UK.

Janet Connor, the AA’s director of insurance, said spending cuts meant roads were not being properly maintained.

“Local council budgets have been squeezed to the extent that competing priorities mean they don’t have the resources to keep their roads up to scratch,” she said.

“Our nation’s highways have become a national embarrassment.”

The firm’s shares fell sharply in February, after it warned that its full-year profit would fall short of analysts’ expectations.