Crash, Bang a Wallop to Your Bank Account

Only one in six claims for damage caused by potholes were compensated in Scotland this year, according to alarming new figures.

Statistics have revealed local authorities only paid out to just 15 per cent of pothole claims  in 2021-22. Indeed this low rate is broadly similar to those recorded in 2019-20 which was 16.3 per cent and 2020-21 which totalled 14.3%.

The shock statistics come on the back of years of Scottish Government funding cuts to local authority budgets, a trend continued in John Swinney’s most recent budget.

The news comes after Dumfries and Galloway Council recorded the poorest record in the country when it comes to repairing potholes.

Last year the authority reported that the backlog in fixing local potholes and drainage defects is expected to take three years to complete and cost millions of pounds.

Local constituency MSP Finlay Carson described the latest delay in settling claims as “concerning” and questioned whether the council will ever be able to deal with the pothole crisis.

He said: “With many councils facing severe financial cutbacks as a direct result of poor funding by the Scottish Government, you seriously begin to question whether this work will ever take place.
“There are cases of motorists being left thousands of pounds out of pocket when it comes to repairing their vehicles after they have clattered into a pothole. Apart from the cost of repairing tyres and alloy wheels which isn’t cheap there are often knock-on costs towards addressing steering issues.
“It is grossly unfair that drivers are expected to pick up the bill because the councils are unable to repair potholes and other surface issues when they already pay heavily on road tax. “

The Galloway and West Dumfries MSP supports a fair funding deal for Scotland’s local authorities and the introduction of Pothole Action Funds, giving local communities the right to demand repairs to local roads.

He backs Shadow transport minister Graham Simpson who says drivers are picking up the tab for “starving” councils of money needed for essential repairs.

Mr Simpson said: “The dire condition of our roads is an extremely serious issue. Far too many local routes across Scotland are scarred with potholes which damage vehicles and can lead to crashes.
“But by imposing yeas of systematic and continued budget cuts, The Scottish government are starving councils of the cash needed either to carry out essential repairs or to compensate drivers affected by their failure to do so.
“Scotland’s pock-marked roads require urgent attention, and the government ought to commit to establishing the Pothole Action Funds.
He continued: “Sadly, though, as John Swinney’s recent budget reaffirmed, local government services are not a priority for ministers, who continue to impose unsustainable funding cuts on councils.”

Latest Articles