Bill for council compensation payments tops £100 million

New research from the TaxPayers' Alliance (TPA) reveals that over £100 million has been paid out in compensation claims against local authorities across the Great Britain over the last two years. These figures suggest that some local authorities are failing to adequately deliver services - such as pothole repair and road maintenance - resulting in costly compensation claims. Others claims could be attributed to the failure to meet the standard of care required of local authorities by the law.

Broadcasters can find a broadcast-quality audio clip from the TPA's Chief Executive Jonathan Isaby here

The key findings of this research are:

  • Nearly £8,000,000 paid out in claims related to potholes over 2013-2014 and 2014-2015
  • The reason cited for a claim of £393 against Wiltshire Council in 2013-14 was "Horseplay" 
  • Other claims paid out included £5,000 by Wirral Metropolitan Council for detaining an employee against his will and £2,360 by Birmingham City Council for the claimant walking into an open window, both in 2013-14
  • The North West paid out the highest amount in compensation claims, £21,906,616 over 2013-14 and 2014-15
  • Lambeth was the London Borough which paid out the highest amount in compensation over the two-year period, £5,264,071; while Norfolk was the County Council to pay out the most at £3,474,123 
  • City of Glasgow was the Scottish Council to pay out the highest amount, £2,735,960; while the Welsh Council paying out the highest amount was Vale of Glamorgan, with £1,120,528

Commenting on the research, Jonathan Isaby, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said:

"The compensation culture is costing taxpayers dear and every pound spent on settlements or higher insurance premiums is a pound that isn't spent on essential services such as road maintenance or social care.

“Of course, some of the payments made by councils will be entirely justified, as the most serious accidents can change lives. But in many cases, local authorities and their staff will be failing to live up to the standards required of them by law or paying out on frivolous claims too easily.

"Councils must do everything they can to ensure their mistakes and negligence don't result in such large bills for hard-pressed taxpayers - and take appropriate action against staff whose actions result in costly claims. We must also root out those who are playing the system with spurious demands for taxpayers' cash."

Click here for the full research note

Click here for the full data table

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