DAMAGE to vehicles caused by potholes is costing Scottish councils more than £1600 a day, according to new figures.

Over the last five years, local authorities have paid out more than £2.7 million in compensation.

In 2012/13 alone, £584,745 was given to motorists across the country, with Glasgow City Council stumping up more than 60% of last year's total, much more than any other council.

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The state of Scotland's roads has become a cause for concern, with the problems caused by recent severe winters not helped by tens of thousands of works and excavations.

Glasgow alone has around 20,000 excavations by utilities and other contractors per year.

The compensation figures were obtained through a Freedom of Information request by the Scottish Conservatives.

Its transport spokesman, Alex Johnstone MSP, called for the Scottish Government take greater responsibility and compel local authorities to take care of their roads.

He said: "The true damage caused by potholes is likely to be far higher than this because many drivers can't face going through the official channels to try to recoup the money paid for repairs.

"Perhaps if the Scottish Government took more of a lead in properly investing in our road network and supporting motorists, it would encourage more councils to do the same.

"Only when the overall standard of roads are improved will we see these compensation figures come down."

A Scottish Government spokesman said it was "fully committed to ensuring the trunk road network remains safe, efficient, and enables businesses and commuters to engage with each other more effectively". He added: "That is why we have invested over £2.6 billion on our roads and motorways since 2007.

"In 2013/14 we are investing over £700m which will ensure we continue to deliver an extensive maintenance and improvement programme on our major A class roads and motorways, with road safety a key priority."

The umbrella body for councils, Cosla, said local authorities only pay compensation when instructed to do so by their lawyers.

Councillor Stephen Hagan, the body's spokesman for development, economy and sustainability, said: "Scottish local government officers are actively involved in discussions with a wide range of organisations to enable a better understanding and appreciation of technical and legal parties involved in the road maintenance industry and compensation claims.

"Councils have been actively addressing the general condition of roads across Scotland despite reduced budgets over the last few years through the implementation of road asset management plans.

"Road conditions have improved and councils have spent 20% less in achieving these outcomes in recent years, a tremendous achievement in times of tighter overall budgets."