Suffolk County Council redundancies cost tax payer over £3 million

Suffolk County Council's cabinet approved the budget proposals for 2019/20. Picture: ARCHANT

Suffolk County Council's cabinet approved the budget proposals for 2019/20. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: ARCHANT

Suffolk County Council has spent over £3 million on exit packages in one year despite the number of people being made redundant falling by 50%, new figures reveal.

Labour councillor Sarah Adams Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

Labour councillor Sarah Adams Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL - Credit: Archant

A total of 145 people received exit packages in 2017/18, down 149 from the previous year. However, the amount of money spent on exit-packages increased by 13% rising from £2.65m to £3.01m.

Of those made redundant, two received pay outs of between £100,000 and £150,000 and a further three received minimum payouts of £80,000.

A council spokesman said the payments would mean that “savings to the organisation over the next five years will be greater”.

The news comes just a day after it emerged Essex County Council had paid £8.6m on exit packages.

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Sam Leigh, regional organiser for UNISON, said: “It’s terrible that, despite spending years cutting everything in sight, Suffolk County Council still sees fit to pay out more than £3m kicking its staff out of their jobs. Residents want cash spent on Citizens Advice centres, libraries and buses, not throwing people out of work.”

The figures emerged on the day Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet approved devastating cuts to public services, including a 100% withdrawal in grant money paid to the Citizens Advice bureau (CA).

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Under the plan, which must still first be approved by the full council, in 2019/20 CA will lose £185,000 of funding with the rest being withdrawn in 2020/21.

The two highest paid leavers received a minimum of £100,000 each.

The pay out figures, which were released by the county council in their Statements of Accounts 2017/18 show that 79 of the redundancies were compulsory with the other departures being agreed.

Cllr Sarah Adams, leader of the Labour Group on Suffolk County Council, said: “Over the past few years we have seen forced redundancies of hundreds of staff who have paid the price for Tory austerity.

“Not only does this come at a huge cost to the taxpayer, but it also comes at a major expense to the delivery of our public services.

“It is clear that, despite the claims of the Tories that these redundancies would not have an effect, standards have not been maintained.

“Our roads are in a terrible state, our education system is in crisis and we are failing to adequately care for vulnerable children and adults in care.

“Yet, Suffolk’s residents will still see another hike in their taxes – they are being asked to plug the gap left by these redundancies, rather than protecting vital services like the CAB.

“Once again, we will pay more and get less from a Tory administration who seem happy to oversee the decline of Suffolk County Council.”

A spokesperson for Suffolk County Council said: “In all cases, decisions relating to exit payments are considered on the basis of savings made to the organisation over a five year period, so although the value of exit payments may have increased, the saving to the organisation over the next five years will be greater.

“The same redundancy scheme is applied to all staff and is calculated on the basis of salary and time served. The figures show that a larger proportion of higher paid staff, such as managers, were made redundant, allowing fewer redundancies to be made to frontline staff.”

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