Blaenau Gwent Council has second highest redundancy bill in Wales Source: WalesOnLine
Despite being one of the smallest local authorities, the council has spent more than £7m in the past three years
Blaenau Gwent Council has spent more than £7m on redundancy payouts in the past three years, it has been revealed.
Despite being one of the smallest local authorities in Wales, the figure puts the council second in the country in terms of financial payouts.
The figures from the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) show that Blaenau Gwent Council spent £3.65m on making staff redundant in the year 2013-14.
This was up from £1.177m in 2012-13 and £2.216m in 2011-12.
The payouts come at a time when the council has to save £10m due to budget cuts.
The overall cost of pay-offs across Wales jumped from £17.2m in 2012-13 to nearly £31m in 2013-14.
Cardiff council – the largest authority – spent the most with £16.5m in the three years to April.
Councils have the discretion to set their own terms and conditions governing redundancy payments.
Blaenau Gwent Council says anyone taking voluntary redundancy has been entitled to a fortnight’s pay for every year they have worked.
The scheme has been changed this year so that staff are only entitled to one week’s pay if they are able to claim their pension.
There are no definitive figures available on how many people have taken redundancy payments across all councils.
But WLGA, which represents councils, said around 10,000 jobs had been lost since October 2009 and another 15,000 – a tenth of all local authority workers – could go if discussions over council mergers went ahead.
It said the pay-offs were necessary to help meet a budget shortfall of almost £900m by 2018 as councils “bear the brunt of austerity”.
A spokesman said: “Redundancies continue to play a vital role in helping councils to deliver short term cost savings and also longer term efficiencies.”
Blaenau Gwent Council said the redundancies where down to ongoing financial pressures coming from a national level.
A spokesman said: “Due to the central Government’s austerity measures, we have had to make unprecedented budget cuts.”