Over £200,000 was handed out in compensation by Cornwall Council last year for personal injury, property damage and damage caused by potholes.

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request has shown that over £780,000 was paid out over four years by the authority, with £40,000 for injuries caused by falling on steps and  £30,000 for injuries caused by potholes.

Cabinet member at the council, Alex Folkes said that overall the amount paid out is relatively steady at about £200,000 each year.

Adding that while the sum is "quite a lot of money which could be better spent on providing frontline services", it is a "comparatively low amount when you look at other councils".

Mr Folkes said: "Cornwall Council receives just over five complaints per 1000 residents each year. In comparison, the average for our sort of council is just over seven complaints per 1000 residents. And in terms of compensation paid, Cornwall pays out only about a third as much as similar councils per head.

"The duty of the council is to keep our roads and pavements in good order and, when a problem is reported, we have to take action to fix it as quickly as possible. That's why we regularly assess the road and pavement network for faults and why we will respond very quickly when issues arise.

"It's also why the initial 'fix' may not look very good and doesn't last very long, but it does last long enough to enable a permanent fix to be scheduled and carried out.

"The council only has liability if it could reasonably be expected to have known about a problem and have a chance to fix it. That's why only around 10 per cent of claims relating to potholes resulted in a payout.

"Where someone suffers damage or injury as a result of council inaction, we will of course, pay fair compensation. It's unlikely that we will ever be perfect and reduce the compensation bill to nothing. But the aim is always to keep the amount paid out as low as possible.

People can help by reporting any potholes or other problems on 0300 1234 100.