Leeds City Council’s outlay on compensation in pavement injury cases was today greeted with alarm by the TaxPayers’ Alliance.
Campaign manager Eleanor McGrath told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “These deeply worrying figures show how much the compensation culture has cost taxpayers in recent years and highlight how much of a growing problem it is.
“Accidents do of course happen, however there must be a level of personal responsibility when it comes to such incidents.
“Every penny spent on settling these claims means less money going towards frontline and essential services.”
Concern has also been expressed by the Guide Dogs charity at the state of the country’s pavements.
It says 40 per cent of people with sight loss are reluctant to go out and about for fear of falling on neglected paths. Guide Dogs chief executive Richard Leaman said: “Guide Dogs is determined to help people with sight loss get out independently and with confidence, but this is being undermined by the dreadful state of our pavements.
“Councils must prioritise dangerous pavements if blind and partially sighted people, as well as people with other disabilities, are to have the same freedom as everyone else.
“For many, it can be the difference between being able to set out with confidence or being trapped at home.” Details of the accident payouts come as Leeds City Council attempts to make savings of nearly £55m this financial year. It is also due to shed more than 300 jobs in 2013-14 as it grapples with the impact of Government funding cuts.
King Lane, meanwhile, was revealed as one of the UK’s pothole hotspots using Freedom of Information data gathered from councils by breakdown company Britannia Rescue.
The firm’s managing director, Peter Horton, said: “Britain’s pothole epidemic has resulted from years of under-investment in our roads and has been exacerbated by recent harsh winters.
“Local authorities face difficult choices in the roads they prioritise for repair and we now have around 200,000 potholes on UK roads. Motorists should protect themselves and their vehicles by reducing their speed on potholed roads.”