SBC pay out nearly £1 million in compensation

FREEDOM of Information figures obtained by the Scottish Conservatives have shown that Scottish Borders Council paid out close to £1million in compensation over the past five years.

The local authority has paid out a total of £945,079.46 in response to 535 claims since 2007.

The majority of claims were made due to surface defects on carriageways, with other claims ranging from incidents incurred while cutting grass or while there was insufficient supervision.

Local MSP John Lamont has criticised the figure, saying that much of this money should be being spent on improving local amenities and services.

Mr Lamont commented: “This is a staggering figure.

“With the council budgets having to be stretched further and further it is extremely important that we spend money as wisely as we can.

“This is a significant amount of cash that could have been spent on improving the services and facilities in the Borders.

“Instead, Scottish Borders Council has had to invest a lot of time and money on these claims.

“Spending this amount of money is simply not sustainable and we need to see these claims start to reduce if we want to see the best use made of our council tax.”

Responsing to the MSP’s concerns, a spokesperson for SBC said: “The new council administration takes this matter very seriously and will continue to invest in our roads network and other areas where litigation is a risk, to mitigate against claims.

“Like Mr Lamont, Scottish Borders Council would far rather that these sums of money are spent on local services but we also have to comply with legal obligations in the same way any large organisation or Government is required to do.”