DOZENS of redundancies have been made at Trafford Council in the last year - at a cost of hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Figures from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) show 52 redundancies at the authority in 2020-2021 - up 15 on 2019-2020.

The severance packages for these redundancies came to a total of £819,800, or an average of around £15,765 per redundancy.

This has fallen from an average of around £24,390 per redundancy in 2019-2020.

A spokesperson for Trafford Council said a large number of the redundancies were as a part of a voluntary severance scheme.

They also suggested that the initial cost of the severance packages is soon made up in savings on salaries and other payments.

They said: "There was a £25 million shortfall in our last budget due to the costs of Covid and reductions in our funding.

"We developed a range of measures to address this shortfall. This included offering council colleagues voluntary severance to reduce our administration costs.

"By offering voluntary severance, along with a range of other measures, we have been able to balance our budget while also protecting our frontline services."

Authorities nationwide spent £252 million on severance packages in the last year.

This is less than half the £544 million spent on severance packages in 2016-2017.

Despite the fall, the Association of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers (ALACE) said job cuts will continue as long as Westminster fails to prioritise local government.

Ian Miller, honorary secretary of the ALACE, said: "The higher spend between 2014 and 2017 reflects that councils were making very significant reductions at that time as a result of the Government's austerity programme, which has cut funding for local government since 2010.

"The job cuts will continue because local government has not been a priority for this or previous Governments."

The MHCLG published its figures as part of the Government's attempt to end 'excessively high' severance packages in local government and other public bodies.

Legislation passed in 2020 - which capped packages at £95,000 - was revoked this year after the Government admitted it might have had 'unintended consequences' for low-paid workers.

An Local Government Association spokesperson said: "Councils are required to ensure termination payments are fair, proportionate, lawful and provide value for money for the taxpayer."

The MHCLG said that the authorities themselves are best placed to make decisions, but that the Government is still committed to tackling excessive exit payments.

An MHCLG spokesperson said: "Severance pay is the responsibility of individual councils and we urge them to ensure that payments reflect value for money to the taxpayers who fund them."