Tories claim compensation costs council thousands

Cash-strapped Angus Council forked out thousands on compensation claims for trips and falls last year, according to the Scottish Conservatives.

Figures released under a Freedom of Information request show the local authority dished out nearly £17,000 in compensation for trips and falls on roads and pavements.

In 2013/14 the council received 20 compensation claims from members of the public who had tripped or fallen on a public road or pavement and paid out a total of £16,942. So far this year, 2014/15, the council has received 18 claims, with no money as yet having been paid out to claimants. According to a Scottish Conservative Party statement: “The statistics show a real need for greater spend on roads and pavements in the area. There are also worries about a growing compensation culture where taxpayers’ money is being used to settle claims.”

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Scottish Conservative north east Scotland MSP Alex Johnstone said: “The state of the roads and pavements in the Angus area is a matter of real concern for both motorists and pedestrians.

“If roads and pavement surfaces were kept in a good condition, then that would very much reduce the cash paid out for compensation claims in the future.

“Only when the overall standard of our public pavements and roads are improved will we see compensation figures come down.

“Nobody wants to have an accident where they seriously hurt themselves due to a broken pavement. However, many hard-working local people will be disappointed to hear their hard-working cash is going on compensation claims for accidents which could be prevented.”

“Instead of bleating on about independence, it’s now time for the SNP government and Angus Council to work together and look into more investment for our local infrastructure, so these expensive claims can be a thing of the past.”

When contacted by the Herald a spokesman for Angus Council gave the following response: “Approximately £7.5m was spent on road carriageways and footway repairs and resurfacing in 2014/15 and we have a budget of £8.1m for such works across our network of 1,800km (1,100 miles) of roads for 2015/16.

“Results from the latest Scottish Roads Maintenance Condition Survey indicated that the road condition in Angus is the seventh best in the country.

“Statistics relating to the number and value paid out on third party claims show that the council is performing well when measured against other local authorities.

“We would encourage people to report any road or pavement defects they are aware of to our ACCESSLine on 03452 777 778 so any repairs can be assessed, prioritised and undertaken.”

This story originally appeared in our sister title the Forfar Dispatch.