THE number of payouts from East Ayrshire Council for pothole-damaged vehicles has more than halved since 2019 - despite a rise in claims for compensation.

According to new figures, EAC is actually above the national average over the last three years for paying out on claims from drivers who have hit a pothole.

However, only around a fifth of claims submitted to the council are accepted.

In the last three years, the council was hit with 279 claims with only 51 resulting in a payout (18.3 per cent).

The percentage of claims resulting in a payout in East Ayrshire has reduced each year: from 27.7 per cent in 2019/20; to 15.7 per cent in 2020/21; and 12.5 per cent in 2021/22.

The total compensation paid out over that period was close to £14,000, lower than in neighbouring South Ayrshire but almost double the total in North Ayrshire.

Last year (2021/22), only 11 claims out of 88 were approved with payouts totalling £4,600 made to drivers.

In 2020/21, 17 claims out of a total of 108 were accepted with £4,372 paid out.

The year before, 2019/20, there were 23 claims approved from 83 and payments made totalling £4,914.

Across Scotland over the three-year period, there were 13,269 claims to councils and 2,057 ended up in payouts, 15.5 per cent of the total.

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

The party said local government was being underfunded and councils were unable to maintain roads properly.

Graham Simpson MSP, shadow transport minister, said: “The dire condition of our roads is an extremely serious issue.

“Far too many local routes across Scotland are scarred with potholes which damage vehicles and can lead to crashes.

“Scotland’s pock-marked roads require urgent attention, and the SNP ought to commit to establishing the Pothole Action Funds that the Scottish Conservatives have called for.”

A statement from East Ayrshire Council said: "The reduction [in claims resulting in a payout each year] reflects Ayrshire Roads Alliance adopting the national code of practice Well Managed Highways Infrastructure which is a risk-based approach to inspection and repair.

"The figures also reflect the capital investment by East Ayrshire Council in its road resurfacing programme.”