A VITAL road grant was slashed because of a ‘lack of competence’ by council bosses, it has been claimed.

Carl Sargeant, AM for Alyn and Deeside, has hit back at claims the Welsh Assembly government were putting motorists’ lives at risk by cutting funding for roads in Flintshire.

As the Leader reported last week, the Local Roads Maintenance Grant (LRMG) will be reduced from £15 million to £5 million.

Cllr Tony Sharps, Flintshire's executive member for environment, claimed the cut would have a devastating impact on the county’s road network and could lead to more accidents.

But Mr Sargeant insisted the budget had been slashed because the council simply never bid for the funds.

He added: “They complain they have no money but they don’t bid for it in the first place.

“The Assembly has a bidding process for transport grants and the only one that Flintshire Council applied for was the Safe Routes to School grant that Hawarden High School won. It’s ironic because Cllr Sharps is spearheading the campaign for Flint bypass and to deal with Shotton's traffic when the council didn’t apply for a grant for either of them.

“They expect to have it when they don’t even ask.

“It just shows their lack of competence.”

The grant, which was a three-year allocation of £15 million a year, is used to bring roads up to standard and tackle potholes which were created by the recent bout of cold weather.

Cllr Sharps said: “We do not have to apply for the grant because it just comes through as a matter of fact.

“I don’t know what Mr Sargeant is talking about, unless he knows of a secret amount of money hidden away at the Welsh Assembly.

“If there is he should tell us where it is so that the people of Flintshire can know where the money will be spent.”