Updated: Thursday, 19th September 2019 @ 4:44pm

Compensation culture costs city: Manchester taxpayers foot £8.5million claim bill

Compensation culture costs city: Manchester taxpayers foot £8.5million claim bill

By Richard Mellor

Compensation claims cost the Manchester taxpayer more than £8.5million last year.

Manchester City Council handed out £5.4million in claims and a further £3.2million in court fees and solicitor costs over the 2011/12 period.

It saw 1161 claims lodged – a figure that has only marginally increased over the past three years.

Robert Oxley, Campaign Manager of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "The council are failing to protect taxpayers by allowing this compensation bill to rise so dramatically.

"Every penny spent on council compensation and the legal fees accompanying claims comes straight out of taxpayers' pockets.

"A certain number of compensation cases is to be expected but the council must fight spurious and excessive claims to ensure value for money."

However, Manchester City Council defended their compensation procedure and pointed out that they were obliged to make payments once the appropriately thorough checks had been made.

A Manchester City Council spokesman said: "We robustly contest claims, successfully defending the majority.

“However, in a minority of cases which are found to be legitimate we are obliged to pay compensation.

“The number of compensation claims made against us has remained more or less static in recent years, but the figure for compensation in the last financial year is distorted by one large pay out which relates to an historic claim.”

The council would not release any details of this historic claim.

Despite there being just two more claims, the 2010/11 period cost the tax payer half as much as the following year in compensation – a total of £2,565,417.

This increase was apparent between the periods of 2009/10 and 2010/11 also.

There were 1087 compensation claims received in 2009/10, a similar figure to the two most recent recorded years.

However, over £700,000 more paid in court fees/solicitor’s costs (£2.9m) and nearly £1million more was paid in compensation (£2.5million) by the Council in the following year.

But the highest increase in fees and compensation paid were those of the 2011/12 period.

On average just one of the 1161 claims last year cost £7,488 to process.

A Manchester City Council spokesman said like all local authorities, Manchester City Council receives a range of compensation claims relating to personal injury, workplace accidents and industrial illness.

These industrial illness claims date back to the 1950s and 1960s, sometimes even earlier, and have been a particular issue for councils across the country with a spike in the resolution of decades-old cases in recent years.

Therefore, some of these incidents that resulted in compensation claims, including the historic claim of which details could not be released, may have not occurred this year, but have only just been resolved.

The number of compensation claims received was: 

2009/10 - 1087 claims.

2010/11 - 1163 claims.

2011/12 - 1161 claims.

The amount of court fees/solicitors' costs paid was: 

2009/10 - £2,209,650.

2010/11 - £2,949,338.

2011/12 - £3,265,379.

The amount of compensation paid was: 

2009/10 - £1,659,532.

2010/11 - £2,565,417.

2011/12 - £5,428,370.

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