Councils in the West Midlands spent £34.6 million on agency staff in one year as they axed hundreds of jobs.
Figures obtained by the Express & Star reveal local authorities actually spent more than £2 million more between them on temporary staff in 2010/11 than they did the year before.
Sandwell Council splashed out £3m more and Wolverhampton City Council spent an extra £666k. Dudley Council's costs also rose by £600k.
Agency spend went up in Stafford, Lichfield and South Staffordshire.
Walsall, Cannock Chase, Wyre Forest and Staffordshire County Council all cut their agency spending.
Sandwell Council claimed it would cost too much to reveal which departments were using the most agency staff. More than 500 permanent jobs have been axed there this year. It was using 782 agency workers a month last year compared with 684 a month the year before.
Councillor Ray Nock, leader of the Tories, said: "It is an appalling waste of money. Sandwell Council hides behind so-called 'Tory cuts' but it needs to get its own house in order."
Councillor Mahboob Hussain said: "The council is undergoing a major restructure and in some cases, people do leave the authority mid-term. That has meant we have had to use our own in-house agency arrangements for temporary workers."
At Wolverhampton City Council, where 450 permanent jobs are being cut, the bulk of the £5.6m spend was in children and young people, which spent £2.2m.
Spokeswoman Rita Rich said: "While this represents a substantial sum, the expenditure equates to just 1.63 per cent of the total salary bill during 2009/10, rising slightly to 1.87 per cent of the total salary bill during 2010/11.
"Strict controls are in place in order to ensure that every appointment of agency staff is justified and appropriately approved."