Thousands spent every day on pothole damage claims

Figure close to �2.7 million has been paid out since 2009. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Figure close to �2.7 million has been paid out since 2009. Picture: Ian Georgeson

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SCOTTISH councils are paying out thousands of pounds in compensation every day to ­motorists because of damage caused by potholes.

Nearly £2.7 million has been paid out since 2009, according to figures revealed through a Freedom of Information request. The true amount is expected to be much higher as some councils failed to provide figures requested by the Scottish ­Conservatives.

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Council leaders insist the condition of Scotland’s roads is improving and blamed a “compensation culture” for the seven-figure payouts.

Glasgow accounted for more than half of the payments, with £1.4m paid out over the past five years.

Renfrewshire was hit for just under £200,000, Dumfries and Galloway for £117,000 and Edinburgh for £92,000.

Tory transport spokesman Alex Johnstone said: “It is often a frustrating and lengthy process for motorists to claim compensation for damage caused to their cars on public roads.

“If roads were better maintained in the first place then this unnecessary cost to the public purse would be greatly minimised. Many of our roads are a national embarrassment and it’s time the SNP ended its piecemeal approach to road maintenance and came up with a longer-term strategy.”

He added that the UK government had shown the way with a dedicated pothole fund.

The Tories in Scotland have repeated calls to create an ­additional pothole fund to enable struggling councils to catch up with their long-standing road repairs.

The Westminster government introduced a £168m fund in June with the aim of filling more than three million ­potholes.

A spokesman for Scotland’s local government body Cosla said a “tremendous effort” had been made by councils to tackle the pothole issue.

He said: “The condition of roads in Scotland is actually improving. And this is despite the perfect storm of recent harsh winters, budgets falling and the general state of public sector ­finances.

“The bottom line is also, sadly, that in today’s world there is far more of a compensation culture and people are often actively ­encouraged to pursue claims.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said despite Westminster cuts to the Scottish budget, local government has been treated “very fairly”.

She said: “We have invested £6 billion into our trunk roads and motorways since 2007, which includes improvements across the country to routes like the M74, M73, M8, A9 and investment in the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route.

“We are also aware of the need to work with road authorities to improve the condition of Scotland’s roads.”

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