Compensation for damage caused by potholes "dramatically cut"

Date published: 07 January 2017

Rochdale Borough Council has "dramatically cut" the amount paid out compensating motorists for damage caused by potholes.

The Liberal Democrats, who revealed the figure to be £55,315.77 since 2012 following a Freedom of Information request, accuse the Council of a "short-term approach being taken to infrastructure investment", however the Council says £10 million has been spent on roads since 2013.

Mark Widdup, the council’s director of neighbourhoods, said: “In 2013 the council introduced a tougher policy on dealing with pothole compensation claims which dramatically cut the amount of money being paid out.

"We have also invested more than £10 million in our roads since then and last year, despite severe cuts to our budgets, launched a borough-wide £1 million pothole repair programme.

"A report by the Federation of Small Businesses recently showed that Rochdale received the fewest pothole-related complaints of any council in Greater Manchester.”

Local Lib Dem leader, Councillor Andy Kelly said: "Labour claimed before the local elections last May that fixing our broken roads and pavements would be a priority. We have seen virtually no progress on this and my warning at the time that this was a political stunt is proving correct. Labour's failure to fix our broken roads is costing us dearly."

"This is a lose-lose situation for everyone, whether they are motorists, councils or taxpayers. Rochdale people already have to fork out so much to drive a car, the least they should expect is that their vehicle doesn't get ruined by the disgraceful state of our streets. Thousands of pounds are now being spent on pay-outs that should have been invested instead in fixing our roads."

"Roads should be fixed quickly so this compensation does not have to be paid out in the first place."

Councillor Neil Emmott, Labour cabinet member with responsibility for highways, said: "Councillor Kelly is talking nonsense. Labour has kept last year's election promise and spent an extra £1million fixing hundreds of potholes, but like every town in the UK there is a huge backlog caused by years of under investment in our roads.

"That's why, despite a very tight budget, we are going to spend another extra £1million this year repairing the roads.

"Labour has fixed more holes in the roads in just 12 months than the Lib Dems ever did in the years they ran the council. Never mind potholes, it's Andy Kelly who needs his bumps feeling."

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