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Employers have paid out £13.4bn in redundancy payments in the past three years, averaging £9,362 per worker in the last 12 months, a report shows.
City law firm Wedlake Bell said the figures showed that unemployment and cost cutting was "heaping a heavy burden" on the public sector and private firms.
Data obtained from HM Revenue and Customs through a Freedom of Information Act request showed that the cost of redundancy pay had only fallen by 2% in the last year, said the report.
David Israel, head of employment at Wedlake Bell, said: "The sheer scale of these redundancy payments is staggering. The overall financial and human cost of having to make these redundancies has been massive.
"Whilst the worst of the private sector cost cutting appears to be over, the public sector has now started to restructure and trim staff levels.
"On average, businesses have been paying far more than the minimum redundancy payments that they are required to pay by law, no doubt in part to avoid any long and drawn-out court proceedings."
There were 470,000 redundancies in the year to March, down from 480,000 in the previous 12 months, according to the research.
Copyright © Press Association 2011