RIVAL political parties have become locked in a roads row ahead of next month’s local elections.

The Liberal Democrats who control City of York Council have launched a pre-poll attack on plans which their Labour opponents put forward over the last four years for maintaining the city’s highways, claiming they would have led to a £608,000 cut in funding.

But the authority’s Labour group has hit back by pointing to a reduction in spending on road repairs in the council’s 2011/12 budget and vowing to invest more money in highway schemes if they win power on May 5.

Steve Galloway, the council’s executive member for city strategy, said figures compiled by officers showed Labour proposals, if they had been voted through, would have meant £294,000 less in road expenditure in 2008/09 and £394,000 less the following year.

Mr Galloway, who is standing for re-election in the Westfield ward, said: “Although these amendments were defeated, the figures demonstrate quite conclusively that investing in safe highways is not a Labour priority.

“They have a nerve claiming otherwise in their election manifesto. Even the small increase they proposed for the current year was at the expense of potentially life-saving work on providing anti-skid surfaces and repairing York’s car parks.”

He said the Lib Dems had spent £52 million on maintaining roads and footpaths over the last six years.

He said: “We have made progress in dealing with the backlog of repairs we inherited from Labour.

“The very bad winter hasn’t helped, but we are on target to clear potholes before the autumn.”

But Labour leader James Alexander said: “Residents in areas like Lindsay Avenue and Chapelfields think the Lib Dems have a cheek saying our roads are in a good condition.

“What annoys me is the number of potholes I have reported, only to be told they are not deep enough to be filled. For the cost of sending somebody to measure the hole, the Lib Dem council could have filled it.

“Our alternative council budget proposed increasing funds for road repairs, but instead of prioritising what is best for residents, the coalition parties voted it down. They voted for less money for road resurfacing in the coming year, and if Labour wins control of the council, we will increase it.”