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Row over 'compensation culture' following £32k berry slip payout
A ROW over our ‘compensation culture’ has erupted after a town council’s insurers paid out thousands to a man who was injured when he slipped on berries in a churchyard.
Councillor Tony Burt is angry that Bromyard and Winslow Town Council’s insurers did not contest the case in court - more than £32,000 was paid out in an out of court settlement – but he reserved some of his wrath for the Church of England, which owns the closed churchyard at St Peter’s Church and does not accept responsibility for such incidents.
The man slipped on berries which had fallen from a yew tree in 2010, and it’s thought he broke a bone as a result.
He died earlier this year in unrelated circumstances.
Coun Burt said: “There is also anger and resentment at the fact that the church, which is wallowing in wealth, abdicates responsibility for its own grounds.”
But Anni Holden, director of communications for the Hereford Diocese, said: “Churchyards are the responsibility of the church while it is possible to bury people. When it becomes full it is closed to burials and at that point the responsibility transfers to the local council.”
Although the payout was covered by the town council’s insurance company, it could result in a rise in the authority’s insurance premiums.
This in turn could put a bigger drain on Bromyard residents who already receive some of the highest council tax bills in the county.
Jonathan Isaby, political director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said taxpayers would be astonished to find they had been landed with the bill.
He pointed to a “worrying rise in the compensation culture”.