£22 MILLION cost of redundancies at Wolverhampton council
An 'eye-watering' £22 million has been spent on redundancy payouts at Wolverhampton council in the last seven years.
New figures show that about £3.1 million per year of council cash was paid out as part of redundancy packages for staff.
A campaigner has claimed people will be "horrified" to see such an incredible amount of money being used in this way.
But a council cabinet member has said the redundancies made 'far greater' savings for the authority than keeping people working unnecessarily.
Thorough a Freedom of Information (FOI) request sent to Wolverhampton council, figures show 2,303 people were made redundant from the organisation between April 2011 and December last year.
While the total number of people being asked to leave varying over the years - with 718 made redundant in 2014 but only 89 in 2012 - the number equated to about 329 people sacked off each year.
And a total of £21,736, 697 was spent on getting rid of those workers. The highest payout was made in 2014, with £6,749,410 dished out to expendable workers.
The lowest was in 2012 with £929,570 spent.
Rob Quarmby, a campaigner for the Liberal Democrats, said: "People will be horrified that millions of pounds have been used in this way.
"What these figures mean is that some senior staff will have been getting golden goodbyes that would make the eyes water and, all the while, this incompetent Labour council moan about having no cash.
"There’s no point trying to make efficiency savings in one area while millions are being needlessly wasted in another."
But Councillor Andrew Johnson, cabinet member for resources, explained it was less costly to make someone redundant than it was to keep them on needlessly.
He said: "It's basically because the government has passed into austerity measures and has cut back on our grant by 50 per cent. So we've had to downsize the organisation to stay basically solvent.
"But it's very strictly controlled. We only allow people to go on redundancy if its in the interest of the council as an organisation. And there's a strict rule that the maximum period of payback is 18 months. It can't be longer than that.
"So we're actually making a saving. If we had kept these people on the books and working for us then the cost would be far, far greater."