Rishi Sunak likely thought that his Government’s pledge to invest £8.3billion into filling in millions of potholes would be warmly welcomed by Brits.
But the Prime Minister was given a bumpy ride when he tried to make light of Britain’s pothole plague when he announced the funding on his official social media account.
Mr Sunak was mocked online after he tried to show some creative flare by posting a graphic which showed two sentences with indents in them to represent potholes.
In the tweet he said: ‘We all want to be able to get to where we want to go without disruption. That is why we are investing £8.3billion to fill in potholes and repair our roads.’
Social media users were quick to poke fun at the Prime Minister – with one hitting back by turning the graphic into a lewd shape and writing ‘Fixed it for ya’.
Taking inspiration from the comical post, another user also rearranged the graphic to say: ‘We all just want a General Election right now.’
Another user also questioned Mr Sunak’s graphic, writing: ‘Express the policy using a meme!’
A third wrote: ‘Are you 12?’
A fourth sarcastically posted: ‘This is brilliant, because it looks like potholes in a road except it’s a sentence! Great work.’
And a fifth joked: ‘Did you make this one yourself Rishi?’
Others joked that it looked like it had been ‘made by a five-year-old’ while another said they ‘thought it was a parody account’.
Mr Sunak has pledged to tackle ‘the scourge of potholes’ with the money saved from scrapping HS2’s Birmingham to Manchester leg.
The Prime Minister described the investment, which will be made available to local authorities over 11 years, as ‘unprecedented’.
AA figures show call-outs to pothole-related breakdowns are at near-record levels.
The organisation has received more than 450,000 so far this year.
Town halls in the North West, North East and Yorkshire & Humber regions will get £3.3 billion over the period, £2.2 billion in the West Midlands and East Midlands and £2.8 billion in the East of England, South East and South West.
The Department for Transport said £5.5 billion of funding for local roads maintenance between 2020 and 2025 was announced before the Network North plan, which is in addition to that.
Mr Sunak said: ‘For too long politicians have shied away from taking the right long-term decisions to make life easier for hardworking families – tackling the scourge of potholes being a prime example.
‘Well-maintained road surfaces could save drivers up to £440 each in expensive vehicle repairs, helping motorists keep more of the cash in their pocket.
‘This unprecedented £8.3 billion investment will pave the road for better and safer journeys for millions of people across the country and put an end to the blight of nuisance potholes.’
On a visit to a project tackling potholes in West Horsley, Surrey, Transport Secretary Mark Harper said drivers will ‘see improvement straightaway’ in road conditions.
He said: ‘That money is enough to resurface over 5,000 miles of roads, so people will see a step change in the quality of local roads.
‘For drivers, for cyclists, for bus users – anyone who uses the roads – this is a real improvement.’
Mr Harper said it is up to local authorities how to spend maintenance funding, such as on tackling potholes and resurfacing roads.
He told Sky News: ‘We’re giving it to local authorities and we want to make sure they’re held accountable, so one of the other things we’re doing is making sure they have to be transparent about what they’re spending the money on.
‘Their local electorates can then hold them to account.’
The Cabinet minister said reducing the number of potholes is ‘a top priority for drivers and road users’.
Some 49 per cent of respondents to an RAC survey of more than 2,500 drivers in March said the condition of local roads was their biggest motoring concern, putting it ahead of all other issues.
Garage repair data analysed by the RAC shows drivers are paying an average of £440 if their car needs fixing after hitting a pothole for any damage more serious than a puncture.
Common vehicle problems caused by potholes include damaged shock absorbers, broken suspension springs and distorted wheels.
The cost of bringing pothole-plagued local roads in England and Wales up to scratch has been estimated at £14 billion.
RAC head of policy Simon Williams said: ‘We hope local authorities will use the money in the most effective way possible by resurfacing the very worst roads, keeping those in reasonable condition in better states for longer through surface dressing, and filling potholes as permanently as possible wherever necessary.
‘This should in time go a considerable way to bringing our roads back to a fit-for-purpose state and saving drivers hundreds of pounds in the process from not having to fork out for frustrating repairs to their vehicles.’
AA president Edmund King said: ‘The £8.3 billion plan can make a considerable difference in bringing our roads back to the standards which road users expect, especially if councils use the cash efficiently to resurface our streets.
‘As well as safer roads, eliminating potholes gives confidence to people wanting to cycle, and instils pride of place within local communities.’
Darren Rodwell, transport spokesman for the Local Government Association, said: ‘Councils want to invest in cost-effective and resilient resurfacing, rather than retrospectively dealing with potholes, and this funding is a significant boost towards improving more of the 186,000 miles of England’s local roads.
‘We await to see the final details of the full allocation.’
He added that it is ‘vital’ the plan is ‘locked in’ by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt in next week’s autumn statement.