Only one in six pothole claims in Scotland paid as Scottish Government accused of 'starving' councils

Only one in six claims for damage caused by potholes were compensated in the past financial year, sparking claims that councils have been left “starving” for the funding needed to make essential road repairs.

Just 15.8 per cent of pothole claims in Scotland were paid out in 2021/22, figures obtained by the Scottish Conservatives under Freedom of Information legislation have shown.

It is a slight rise on 2020/21 when 14.3 per cent of claims were paid, but down on the 16.3 per cent of payments made in 2019/20.

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A total of 29 of Scotland’s 32 local authorities responded to FOI requests for the required information.

A road user tries to avoid potholes in Glasgow

The figures have been released after Deputy First Minister John Swinney last month stressed Scotland’s health service would be left starved of resources if extra UK Government funding was used to help councils plug a £1 billion shortfall.

Cosla, which represents Scotland’s councils, has voiced fears that without additional cash from the Scottish Government, authorities will be “struggling to deliver even the basic, essential services that communities rely on”.

Scottish Tories shadow transport minister Graham Simpson said drivers had been left to pick up the tab while the SNP has been “starving” councils of funds for essential repairs.

"The dire condition of our roads is an extremely serious issue,” he said.

"Far too many local routes across Scotland are scarred with potholes, which damage vehicles and can lead to crashes.

“But by imposing years of systematic and continued budget cuts, Nicola Sturgeon’s Government are starving councils of the cash needed either to carry out essentials repairs or to compensate drivers affected by their failure to do so.

“Scotland’s pock-marked roads require urgent attention, and the SNP ought to commit to establishing the Pothole Action Funds that the Scottish Conservatives have called for.

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“Sadly, though, as John Swinney’s recent Budget reaffirmed, local government services are not a priority for ministers, who continue to impose unsustainable funding cuts on councils.”

Motoring association the AA said in July last year that Fife was the pothole capital of Scotland, containing the fifth-highest number of potholes reported between April 2018 and June 2021 in the UK.

The Scottish Government has been contacted for comment.

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