Scottish Conservative Local government spokeswoman, Margaret Mitchell MSP recently highlighted a range of examples where compensation had been paid out by Scottish Councils. Over the last five years local authorities have paid a total of £33 million in compensation spread across 13,000 claims.
The MSP has described the examples as falling within a range ‘…from the very serious to the utterly ridiculous.’ These examples included a man in Edinburgh who claimed £170,000 after a firework went off in his hand, a claim for property damage to garden ornaments by Council grass cutters and damage to a privately owned vehicle after it was struck by a Council vehicle.
Margaret Mitchell pointed to each of her carefully selected examples and further stated that ‘It is right when someone is injured, has their property damaged or is inconvenienced through no fault of their own, council should pay up quickly and efficiently.’ She does however go on to say ‘…the sheer amount of cash involved here really points to the compensation culture in which we live which is spiralling out of control.’
Thompsons Partner Patrick McGuire said: “These comments once again demonstrate the Government’s poor attitude towards victims of injury or damage. It would appear she is saying that if a claim is for a small sum of money it ought not to be made and that the loss, burden and inconvenience should be borne by the innocent victim of the Council’s negligence.
“In current economic times these are costs which cannot be expected to be placed upon the ordinary hard working person. One must ask why the Council is paying such sums of money and one would likely find that it is because they are bound by law to do so as a result of their negligence.”