What septics call a sidewalk for some unknown reason Credit Arriva4426 CC-BY-3.0

Local councils groan under the weight of a legal burden, that they are responsible for the pavements around town. If people fall over or trip because of bad maintenance the council has to cough up the compo as a result of that legal duty. So, obviously, they do:

Pedestrians were awarded at least £2.1m in compensation after tripping on pavements in the past year, research has revealed.

The AA found that 10,572 people made claims against local councils, but only 859 – just 8% – were successful.

While some councils paid compensation on more than 75% of claims, others made no payouts despite hundreds of claims.

Councils blamed “decades of underfunding by successive governments” for their damaged pavements.

Well, it could be underfunding of course but sorting out a pavement isn’t a high cost activity. Certainly, it’s cheaper than running a team of diversity advisers. So there’s rather the matter of what the council decides to spend the money on instead of there not being enough perhaps.

Councils received 10,572 claims in the year to the end of May. Hillingdon council in west London had the greatest number of successful claims, paying out in 115 out of 148 cases. Liverpool city council made no payments despite receiving 448 claims. Only Shetland Islands council received no claims.

Well, yes, getting a Scally to cough up for the debts is always difficult.

The AA’s Freedom of Information request revealed that during the period, cash-strapped councils paid out £2.1million in compensation – money that could have been used on vital services.

But, umm, the council isn’t paying out on maintenance. But it is paying out on compensation. So, why don’t they do the maintenance and save on the compo? The answer is obvious if you’ve any knowledge of public choice theory. Which just says that the rulers, the bureaucracies, they’re subject to the same force of economic incentives as the rest of us. It might be, is, that they face absurd and counter productive incentives but they’ve still got them and they still react to them.

The reason the councils pay the compensation instead of fixing the pavements is that it’s cheaper to do it this way around.

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jgh
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jgh

Cash strapped council? Or it could be they just raided the roads budget to pay for an unknown international sports event.

Spike
Member

It sometimes makes sense; retailers accept a certain amount of pilferage, rather than take the intrusive steps that might prevent pilferage entirely. These claims might not be prevented entirely, if courts reward false or trivial claiming.

But cities shirking on maintenance and claiming they need more tax revenue, while councillors who ran on “ending waste and fraud” fully fund social-justice sacred cows, is as constant as putting $1 in the Snow Removal budget and having to call a special revenue meeting at the first “unanticipated” storm.

jgh
Member
jgh

I have sympathy with snow planners, as while you can predict that winter will arrive, but in this country you can’t predict that snow will arrive. It’s difficult to justify funding a load of snow ploughs that will sit going rusty for fifteen years waiting to be used. And did you know that rock salt goes “off”? I didn’t when I proposed stockpiling it in an otherwise disused storage depot.

GR8M8S
Member
GR8M8S

Sprinkle with a bit of salt to preserve?

Spike
Member

I did not know that rock salt goes “off,” but I did know that hay that has not been salted can go “off.” My use of snow as an analog is based on a country where you are pretty damned sure that snow will arrive, but your bureaucrats can always say that there was utterly no way at budget time to foresee this snowfall. In a country where debilitating snow is an every-fifteenth-year proposition, you would not own dedicated snow removal equipment but would pay for temporary priority to adapt other people’s non-dedicated equipment to snow removal. But the fact… Read more »

isp001
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isp001

I haven’t seen the number but we do know that local pension funds are underfunded, and of course the central government scheme is not funded at all. What all that means is that each year the cost of paying for pensions goes up and up. So there probably is a squeeze on councils, etc – but this is a squeeze because in prior years they lied about how much they were spending (that is what underfunding is) and now have to catch up.

bloke in spain
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bloke in spain

“What septics call a sidewalk for some unknown reason” Probably because American language likes to be more accurate than its English offshoot*. Pavement, in its technical sense, is the covering for a highway surface. Vehicle or pedestrian. Or in an architectural sense, a tessellated surface covering of paviors. So, while the latter might apply to the legacy footways of many of our 19thC developed cities, it doesn’t apply universally. It is, quite accurately, the side of the thoroughfare where one walks. *American English has diverged less than English English from it’s 18thC precursor. Since more people speak it than any… Read more »

john77
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john77

When I grew up pavements were made of paving stones. So, sorry bis, you’re talking American. Tarmacadem is the smooth covering for a MacAdam road made of stones.

bloke in spain
Member
bloke in spain

Tarmacadam in both standard English & it’s English variant, I believe, John. Although quite why you mention it, is a mystery. Hasn’t been widely used for years. What you’re probably thinking of is asphalt concrete, generally containing bitumen – an oil derived product. Like Americans, people in the construction industry prefer to be accurate.