The number of whiplash claims has fallen by almost 60,000 in the past year, according to the government’s own figures.

A freedom of information request to the Department for Work and Pensions’ compensation recovery unit has revealed there were 488,281 whiplash claims in Great Britain in 2012/13. That compared with 547,405 in 2011/12, and was the lowest since 2008/09.

The figures were obtained by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and submitted as part of the group’s evidence to the House of Commons transport committee’s inquiry into whiplash.

They attempt to answer the committee’s call for evidence to judge the government’s statement that the UK is the ‘whiplash capital of the world’.

‘The transport committee inquiry finally presents a real chance to challenge hackneyed and groundless propaganda about whiplash-related injuries which has been promulgated by the insurance industry for far too long,’ said Matthew Stockwell (pictured), president of APIL.

‘This debate has been mired in myth and hyperbole for far too long.’

Claimant lawyers and the insurance industry are expected to give oral evidence to the committee. The Association of British Insurers said last week that it will argue there is an ‘epidemic’ in whiplash claims.

The ABI supports government plans to raise the small-claims court limit to £5,000 and wants a new method drawn up independently for calculating compensation for whiplash injuries.