FIGURES obtained by a pressure group show Wirral Council paid out £970,000 in compensation claims over two years.

The new statistics show the town hall forked out staggering sums for a spectrum of claims - some relate to serious incidents while others appear  to be frivolous such as a "potato peeler injury."

The research from the TaxPayers' Alliance has revealed more than £100m has been paid out in compensation claims against local authorities across Great Britain.

The North West paid out the highest amount, £21,906,616 over 2013-14 and 2014-15.

Included in the Wirral breakdown are two large claims by council employees for "harassment in the workplace."

This resulted in £81,000 being paid to a worker in 2013-14.

The next year the council was forced to pay £103,329 for a similar offence.

Another member of staff was paid £21,000 after being assaulted.

"Negligence by social services" cost the borough's taxpayers £28,435 in 2014-15.

Compensation of £17,000 was paid for "alleged negligence in consultancy work provided."

Slip injuries on defective pavements and damage caused by potholes in the roads cost the authority around £98,000 in 2013-14 and £120,000 for 2014-15.

And on top of this the council was forced to hand over £1,484 to a claimant who "suffered an injury from a potato peeler," another got £2,500 after "tripping over a golf bunker" while £2,750 was paid out for "sitting on a defective bench."

Listed in the alliance's key findings is a £5,000 payment the council made to an employee for "detaining him against his will."

Wirral Council has not disputed the sums involved, which were obtained through a series of Freedom of Information requests, but a spokeswoman said: "Many council employees often deal with very difficult and unpredictable incidents as part of their day-to-day work.

"The council takes the care and safety of its employees very seriously and endeavours to mitigate risks to its employees as far as reasonably possible.

“In this case, [staff member detained against his will] the council did not detain an employee; the claim was in fact made by a member of staff who was prevented from leaving the home of a service-user during the course of their work.

"We can’t comment further than that.”

The alliance says the figures suggest some local authorities are failing to adequately deliver services - such as pothole repair and road maintenance - resulting in costly claims.

Other claims could be attributed to the failure to meet standards of care required of local authorities by law.

Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "The compensation culture is costing taxpayers dear and every pound spent on settlements or higher insurance premiums is a pound that isn't spent on essential services such as road maintenance or social care.

“Of course, some of the payments made by councils will be entirely justified, as the most serious accidents can change lives.

"But in many cases, local authorities and their staff will be failing to live up to the standards required of them by law or paying out on frivolous claims too easily.

"Councils must do everything they can to ensure their mistakes and negligence don't result in such large bills for hard-pressed taxpayers - and take appropriate action against staff whose actions result in costly claims.

"We must also root out those who are playing the system with spurious demands for taxpayers' cash."

Key findings include:

Nearly 8m paid out in claims related to potholes over 2013-2014 and 2014-2015.

£1,475,000 was the highest amount paid in a single claim for "manual handling" by Norfolk County Council in 2014-15.

The reason cited for a claim of £393 against Wiltshire Council in 2013-14 was "Horseplay."