There were famously 4,000 holes in Blackburn, Lancashire, in January 1967 – and anybody driving on the back road from Petersfield to Chichester these past few weeks may suspect we have more.

John Lennon compiled the lines for the Beatles song A Day In The Life after reading a newspaper report about Blackburn’s pothole problem. 

A quick online search produces maps similarly pockmarked with a huge number of potholes in the Petersfield area. 

They are part of a nationwide problem caused by long-term under-investment and under-funding of councils by a succession of Conservative governments in power since 2010.

Local councils estimate it will take £12.64 billion and a decade to repair the craters currently damaging cars across the country, according to Rick Green, chairman of the Asphalt Industry Alliance.  

“Potholes are not inevitable. They are the result of poorly-maintained roads due to long-term underfunding,” he said last month.

Here in East Hampshire they are one of the many symptoms of a collapse in public services. We see it in waiting times for ambulances, hospital and GP appointments.  

We see it in poor train services on the London-Portsmouth line and our underfunded schools with insufficient money to pay teachers what the government has agreed to give them, let alone what the unions are claiming.

And yet we are being taxed up to our eyeballs. 

The average tax burden is at its highest level in 70 years after a decade of Conservative austerity, the disruption of Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic, which saw the Tories give contracts to their friends and supporters and waste £15 billion on equipment that will never be used.

We have to move on from Brexit and make the best of it but what a mess the Tories have left us in. 

The Office for Budget Responsibility, which produces economic forecasts for the government, says that leaving the European Union will reduce the UK’s output by four per cent over 15 years compared to remaining in the trading bloc. Exports and imports are forecast to be around 15 per cent lower. 

Britain is broken because of the Conservatives’ shocking mismanagement of our economy and the public finances. 

We are still the fifth biggest economy in the world but, like the United States, we are a country with some of the richest people in the world but where wealth is not shared fairly.

In September last year the Financial Times produced analysis showing the average household in Slovenia, formerly part of Communist Yugoslavia, will be better off than its British counterpart by 2024 and the average Polish family will overtake us before the end of the decade.

The Conservatives at Westminster and locally here in East Hampshire have had their time and failed miserably. 

There will be no easy fixes now but it’s time to give Labour a chance to run the country and council services here in East Hampshire.

Please think of that the next time your car gets damaged in a pothole driving out of town.

By Howard Linsley, East Hampshire Labour Party spokesman