Newham third-highest payer of compensation of east London councils

Newham Council was in the top three compensation-payers of east London councils

Newham Council was in the top three compensation-payers of east London councils - Credit: Archant

The council paid £141,525 in compensation from 2013 to 2015.

According to data released by the TaxPayer’s Alliance yesterday, Newham Council was the third highest payer of compensation out of the east London boroughs and 18th out of all 32 London boroughs.

Chief executive for the TaxPayers’ Alliance, Jonathan Isaby, blames a “culture” of claiming on the expenditure.

“The compensation culture is costing taxpayers dear and every pound spent on settlements or higher insurance premiums is a pound that isn’t spent on essential services such as road maintenance or social care,” he said. “Of course, some of the payments made by councils will be entirely justified, as the most serious accidents can change lives.”

The biggest single payment from Newham Council to a claimant was £15,000, which was paid to somebody who tripped over a paving slab.

A stranger case say £2,000 paid to a person after tree roots damaged their wall in 2013 to 2014.

Jonathan stressed the need for London councils to accept responsibility in cases such as these and be wary of “frivolous” claims.

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“In many cases, local authorities and their staff will be failing to live up to the standards required of them by law or paying out on frivolous claims too easily,” he 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.”

A spokeswoman from Newham Council said that from 2013 to 2015 compensation payouts had fallen dramatically.

“The amount the council has paid out in compensation claims has dramatically decreased from £106K in 2013 to 2014 to £35k in 2014 to 2015,” she said. “All insurance claims are dealt with robustly and in accordance with current legislation.

“Where the council is held responsible, we take action to help prevent similar incidents from happening again and we will continue to fight against claims that threaten the council’s ability to deliver the services people value the most.”