DUDLEY Council spent more than £28m in redundancy payments over the last decade as cutbacks forced staff layoffs.

Since the 2014/15 financial year the authority has made payouts to 1,458 workers which cost taxpayers £28,340,215.

The most expensive year was 2016/17 when 409 exits cost £9.5m as councillors fought to cope with the effects of rising demand and cuts in government support.

Councillor Steve Clark, Dudley cabinet member for finance, legal and human resources, said: “Like all local authorities, we continue to face the challenges of balancing the budget and delivering value for money. 

“As the borough’s largest employer, and as an authority that is committed to creating opportunities, redundancies are always a last resort and we always work with our employees to support them when roles are at risk.”

According to the Institute for Government, grants from central government to England’s local authorities fell in real terms by 40 percent between 2009 and 2020.

Grants make up around 22 percent of council income nationally, council tax makes up around half of the cash councils collect but the level of increases has been capped by successive governments.

The IoG says council’s spending power in 2021/22 was 10 percent lower than a decade before.

Cllr Clark added: “Sometimes we are forced to make difficult decisions to meet our financial targets in order to ensure stability for the people we serve. 

“Redundancies typically occur as service needs or requirements of the local authority change, or in instances where people can no longer work in the same location as they were previously based.”

A drop in grant funding hits councils with higher levels of deprivation hardest because it makes up a bigger slice of the money they receive while getting less from council tax.

According to the Office for National Statistics, Dudley is the 64th most deprived council out of 316 English local councils.

Neighbouring councils face similar challenges and have also had to shell out to make staff redundant during the last ten years.

Sandwell spent £38,666,217 making 1,245 people redundant while Walsall paid out £22,857,954 to 1,222 employees.

Wolverhampton spent the most with a cost of £40,760,830 to lay-off 2,388 workers.