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Pot holes cost councils thousands in damage repairs

Councils across Scotland are spending more than £1,600 a day compensating drivers whose cars have been damaged by potholes, local authority figures have revealed.

Motorists were reimbursed £584,745 in 2012/13 with the five-year total now standing at more than £2.7 million, figures obtained by the Conservatives show.

The amounts paid out by local authorities for repairs such as suspension damage and burst tyres vary considerably.

Last year, Glasgow paid out nearly £360,000 in compensation, by far the highest in Scotland.

Elsewhere, Aberdeenshire was forced to settle £34,000 worth of claims, and the figure in Edinburgh was more than £27,000.

However, others such as Clackmannanshire and Moray did not have to pay any compensation to drivers.

The statistics were obtained by the Scottish Conservatives through Freedom of Information.

Scottish Conservative transport spokesman Alex Johnstone MSP said: "The state of roads both in the city and the countryside are a matter of real concern for motorists.

"We need to make sure surfaces are kept in good condition because investment in that would very much reduce the cash paid out in future.

"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 and 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: "Local authorities are responsible for local roads in their area, including their general maintenance and pothole repair.

"The Scottish Government is providing local government with over £10.3 billion in 2013-14 to allocate on the basis of local needs and priorities. Between 2007-08 and 2012-13 local government's budget increased by 8.9% demonstrating the strong financial settlements agreed during challenging financial times.

"In terms of Scottish Government's responsibilities, we are fully committed to ensuring the trunk road network remains safe, efficient, and enables businesses and commuters to engage with each other more effectively. That is why we have invested over £2.6 billion on our roads and motorways since 2007.

"In 2013/14 we are investing over £700 million 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."

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