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£6 million - the cost of council lay-offs
11:50am Tuesday 11th September 2012 in Local
MORE than £6 million of taxpayer cash has been spent on redundancy costs at Worcestershire County Council since 2007, it has emerged.
During the last five years bosses at county hall have forked out £6.05 million on 599 redundancies.
The cuts have got deeper over the years – in 2011/12 344 workers lost their jobs, costing the council almost £3.6 million, a record high.
Although council bosses say the measures have transformed the organisation into a leaner operation, critics say the cuts have gone “too deep, too fast”.
Councillor Richard Udall , deputy leader of the county’s Labour group, said: “These figures show how the rampant pace of the cuts are getting worse and worse.
“It’s too deep, too fast and our message would be to slow down.
“Morale among the workforce is quite low at the moment because so many of them are having so much work to do. It’s having a huge impact on services, there is no doubt."
Bosses say the cuts have created about £11.5 million worth of savings in salaries since 2007, and that the ongoing year-on-year savings will run into millions more.
Kenny Brown, head of human resources, said: “As the council responds to the substantial reductions in its funding it continues to try to find ways to minimise redundancies and protect essential services.
“However the scale of funding cuts mean that redundancies are inevitable and in such circumstances procedures have been agreed with the trade unions to ensure that all redundancies are handled consistently and fairly.”
Councillor David Thain, county councillor for Redditch and cabinet member responsible for staffing, added: “All Government organisations are having to make cutbacks – we are trying to do it in as fair a way as possible.”
The council is trying to save up to £90 million by 2015 under a plan called BOLD – Better Outcomes, Leaner Delivery.