Monday, September 06, 2004

Norwich’s “Compensation culture” takes centre stage for Conservatives

A new Conservative campaign group in Norwich is set to tackle the problem of the City’s “compensation culture”. The group – made up of representatives from around the City – will tomorrow hear up-to-date figures about the amount that compensation claims are costing taxpayers in Norwich.

Many people now sue the council for personal injuries such as trips and falls on council land, but the “compensation culture” now heaps the pressure on council taxpayers and detracts from those making genuine claims of negligence.

I recently e-mailed Council Leader Ian Couzens to warn, “People target the council because they believe it is a soft touch”. Continuing, “I have grave concerns about what this might mean for the running of a local authority”.

Figures released by the council show that the council spends £106,000 a year on public liability insurance but also paid out £166,000 because they are still liable for an excess – with 60% of the claims being made for trips and falls on council land.

The scale of the compensation culture in Norwich is now costing each household in Norwich dearly on their council tax. We need to defend the rights of those who have genuine claims but clamp down on those who sue the council to make money.

Conservatives will suggest a dual policy to cover Environmental improvement and to reduce compensation payouts. We will pay for specialists to go around Norwich to look at areas where claims might arise and put things right before claims can be made. That means straightening pavements, sorting footpaths and repairing damaged playgrounds.

The LibDems must start to get a grip on power and sort these issues out now before they get totally out of hand.

Our policy will both improve our environment and still save money for council tax payers in Norwich.

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