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Lib Dems pave the way to big reduction in payouts on pavement injuries

August 24, 2009 6:05 PM

Figures produced by the Liberal Democrats have shown that Lib Dem controlled Newcastle council is significantly out-performing the national trend when it comes to having to pay compensation claims for injuries sustained on uneven pavements.

Last year the council had to pay out just £41,731 in compensation claims for falls and trips, compared to a staggering £1,421,670 in 2000 when Labour ran the city council and the council was slammed by the Audit Commission for its poor road and pavement maintenance. The average national level is around £200,000 per year for each council. The reduced level of accidents has resulted in the council's personal injury insurance premium reducing by more than £1m since 2004, The total number of claims has dropped significantly and the council has successfully defended 87% of them.

Lib Dem parliamentary spokesman for Newcastle East Greg Stone said "Newcastle is the regional capital and is used by many people for work, shopping, and entertainment, so is likely to get much greater footfall than some areas. However I am delighted that our performance is much better than elsewhere and that the total spent both on compensation claims and on insurance premiums has decreased markedly, undoubtedly as a result of significant additional investment in our roads and pavements by the Lib Dem council.

"I'm aware this is a big concern for many people in Newcastle East as it often gets raised with me on the doorstep, particularly by older people worried about injuries. There was a huge backlog of pavement maintenance under Labour and we are conscious that many pavements still need attention, but we are doing our best to invest in them and improve pavement safety by reducing trips and falls. It is good news that more of local people's council tax in Newcastle is paying for new pavements and not legal bills."