Council must work harder to reduce compensation bill
"Rochdale Council must work harder to reduce it's compensation bill," says Lib Dem Councillor Andy Kelly. He was speaking after it was revealed that Rochdale Council paid out £872,000 in the last two years. The amount was revealed via a freedom of information request by the TaxPayers' Alliance.
Andy said: "The amount we pay out in compensation is way ahead of the national average. It's no coincidence that that the condition of roads and pavements in Rochdale is appalling. A simple walk round Milnrow and Newhey, for example, should shame the Council. The Council needs to do a root and branch review of every road in the Borough. It's not rocket science to spend money on our broken roads and pavements now to avoid paying out compensation. With the current adverse weather, the problem is only going to get worse - we need to act now. Fix our broken roads and pavements and fight vigorously any compensation claims."
Angela Coric, a former councillor in Milkstone and Deeplish, said: "Our pavements and roads are getting worse - I was a councillor for 18 years and can never remember them being in such a terrible state. It's no surprise that our compensation bill is so high compared to other areas. It is something this Labour Council needs to get a grip of - to keep paying out is false economy."
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."