Compensation payouts by Brent Council surge by 713 per cent in a year
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Compensation payouts by Brent Council, which includes a £13,000 settlement for a woman who was injured while getting off a chair, have surged by more than 700 per cent in a year.
According to a new report, the town hall has forked out a total of £363,606 in the last 12 months up from £44,695 the year before an increase of 713 pc.
The largest payout in 2015 was a £137,814 repair bill for a swimming pool and plant roof which was “damaged by a storm”.
Cllr Muhammed Butt, leader of Brent Council, told the Times government cuts to the council’s funding is leaving the town hall vulnerable to the compensation culture.
Other unusual claims include the chair incident, a £1,012 payout after a council security officer “raised a bollard too quickly” and a £650 settlement for a worker who was accidentally struck while taking part in a ‘role play’ exercise.
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Injury or damage relating to potholes cost the council £41,529, trips on pavements, kerbs or roads a further £78,721 and damage caused by stones pinging off gardening strimmers totalled £3,553.
The category with the largest payout of the last two years was for people and property being injured by falling tress at a cost totalling £35,584.
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Blunders in graveyards and memorial sites have also cost the council with one claimant receiving a £1,242 payout for damage to memorial stone, another claiming £1,310 after a digger overturned in a cemetery and damaged a headstone and £194 paid out after a “heavy vehicle” drove over someone’s grave.
More sobering figures include a payment of £2,342 to council worker who was allegedly bullied and £2,926 to a claimant who accused Brent of being one of the “five parties” collectively responsible for the failure to diagnose Tuberculosis in a patient.
The figures were obtained by campaign group the Taxpayers’ Alliance who sent out a Freedom of Information request to every council in the country.
Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “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.”
In response to the report, Cllr Butt, said: “Drastic cuts by central government to Brent’s funding is starting to have a clear knock-on effect to all services including street repairs and maintenance of our open spaces, leaving councils and taxpayers alike more vulnerable to claims in today’s no-win-no-fee ‘claim and blame’ culture.
“We are working hard to overcome the challenges we are facing and always investigate wherever accidents do occur to take steps that are possible to ensure that the same incident does not happen again.”