Political Correspondent

COUNCILS have spent hundreds of millions of pounds on redundancy deals in the last six years.

According to Audit Scotland the bill for 15,000 exit packages across the country has topped £627 million since 2012 .

The Tories have called for councils to keep closer control on finances as the average package was worth £40,000 and the same report found councils have £14.5 billion of debt.

The party believes payments to staff who are being told they are no longer required is “waste”.

Last year, six severance deals a day were agreed by Scotland’s 32 councils, at a cost of £78 million.

Glasgow City Council has seen thousands of staff depart in recent years as the council is forced in to cutbacks with reducing budgets from the Scottish Government.

Separate figures show in the last two years the council has seen 3000 staff leave on a redundancy deal a the council looks to make savings.

The Audit Scotland report stated £79 million in reserves was used last year for general running costs, and that 10 per cent of local authority budgets are spent servicing debt.

The Conservatives think that some of the pay outs are excessive and want them curbed.

Alexander Stewart, local government spokesman, said: “People will be horrified that hundreds of millions of pounds have been used in this way.

“Everyone understands the need for councils to become more efficient and reducing the headcount in certain departments may be a way of doing that.

“But the average payout is £40,000, which means some senior staff will have been getting golden goodbyes to make the eyes water.”

“There’s no point trying to make efficiency savings in one area while millions are being needlessly wasted in another.”