Monday, 24 August 2009

Councils paying out nearly £1m each in compensation for pavement trips - Baker

County councils and unitary authorities have paid out an average of nearly £1m each in compensation to people who have tripped on pavements in the last five years, the Liberal Democrats have revealed. Freedom of Information responses from more than 90 councils show they have paid out more than £82m. This number is likely to grow as there are currently more than 10,000 cases outstanding.

Commenting, Liberal Democrat Shadow Transport Secretary, Norman Baker said:

“With council and household budgets under more pressure than ever, the last thing the local taxpayer needs is to be paying massive compensation claims for injuries caused by dangerous pavements.

“This is money that could have been spent on improving pavements and preventing these problems in the first place.

“Although some councils are investing heavily to improve their footways, others seem content to almost ignore pedestrians entirely. Too many councils seem interested only in motorists and not those who walk, cycle or take the bus.

“It appears that some councils seem to be making the cynical calculation that they can afford to pay out compensation rather than invest in improving pavements. This could prove to be a costly mistake if pavements are allowed to deteriorate too far.”

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