THE number of potholes on Scotland’s major roads has increased fivefold since the SNP came to power, sparking calls for extra investment.

Figures show 3,981 potholes were reported on trunk roads in 2007/8, compared to 20,988 in the last full financial year.

The Scottish Conservatives said Scotland’s streets are “plagued by potholes” and called for extra funding for road maintenance.

The party also highlighted research showing the Scottish Government has overseen a cut to council budgets since 2013/14.

Tory MSP Miles Briggs said: "This new information reveals the stark decline in the state of Scotland’s roads under the SNP.

“Streets all over the country are plagued by potholes.

"The impact on family finances is substantial, driving up the costs of owning a car.

“We are calling for a £200 million Pothole Fund over the course of the Parliament so that local areas can take direct action to halt the spiralling condition of our roads under the SNP."

He added: “The Scottish Conservatives would deliver more power to communities and reverse the last 14 years of SNP centralisation and cuts to local services.”

The pothole figures were revealed following a parliamentary question submitted by Mr Briggs.

They show the number of reported potholes on Scotland's trunk road network - which is the responsibility of Transport Scotland - jumped from 3,981 in 2007/8 to 13,087 in 2011/12.

Between 2016/17 and the following financial year, the number shot up from 12,468 to 20,691.

A record 21,115 potholes were reported in 2019/20, before this number fell slightly to 20,988 in 2020/21.

Figures from before 2007 are not available.

The Herald has repeatedly highlighted concerns over potholes on Scotland's local road network, with Edinburgh Council recently setting out proposals to invest £6 million in improving roads and pavements.

The Tories pointed to previous research by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre, which laid bare a shortfall in funding for local government.

In a briefing paper from February, it said: "Looking at the historic allocations to local government, compared to the Scottish Government's allocation from the UK Government, from 2013/14 to 2021/22, local government total revenue reduced by 2.4 per cent in real terms (or -£276 million).

"The Scottish Government's fiscal resource budget limit from HM Treasury, plus NDRI [Non-Domestic Rates Income], increased in real terms over the same period, by 3.1% (or £1,013.9 million)

"Between 2013/14 and 2021/22, the local government revenue budget as a share of the Scottish Government equivalent reduced by 1.9%, from 34.7% to 32.8%."

Mr Briggs asked the Scottish Government how many potholes have been reported and how much has been spent repairing potholes in each year since 1999, broken down by local authority area.

Responding, SNP transport minister Graeme Dey said Transport Scotland is responsible for the management and maintenance of the strategic trunk road network, including motorways, but the repair of potholes on all other roads is the responsibility of local authorities.

He said: "The Scottish Government fully funds the inspection and repair of all high risk category 1 defects (for example vandalism flooding, spills and potholes), on the trunk road network.

"The repair of all category 1 defects is funded from commercially sensitive monthly sums and cannot be provided.

"Transport Scotland’s asset information system does not hold the cost of repairing individual defect types such as potholes.

"Trunk road investment is not allocated, recorded or reported on the basis of local authority area."

He added: "Since 2007, this Government has invested £4.35 billion in managing, maintaining, and safely operating the Scottish trunk road and motorway network.

"In 2021/22, we will invest £529 million, an increase of £59 million from 2020/21.

"The budget for structural repairs and network strengthening of trunk roads and bridges, including the Forth Road Bridge, is being increased by £46.5 million in 2021-22 to £207 million.

"The budget for routine and winter maintenance of trunk roads is being increased by £12.5 million to £106.9 million.

"We will continue to invest in our extensive trunk road maintenance and operations programmes, to improve Scotland’s road network through essential road maintenance schemes, our bridge strengthening programme, renewal of ancillary assets and increasing the resilience of the network to unplanned events such as landslides, flooding and extreme weather events.

"The increases in Network Strengthening and Structural Repairs budgets will provide further investment to support our programmes of essential road carriageway maintenance and bridge strengthening and repairs contributing to our commitment to double investment in maintenance of existing assets over the next five years.

"In addition, the overall condition of our network is being enhanced through the delivery of our capital investment programme."