£22m cost revealed of Yorkshire Forward’s closure

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CLOSING regional development agency Yorkshire Forward will have cost the Government £22.8m in redundancy payments by the time it shuts its doors next year.

One hundred employees took voluntary redundancy in 2010-11 and another 11 were made compulsorily redundant at a total cost of £3.15m as the Government announced the agency would be abolished by next spring.

The remaining 280 staff will leave this year, costing another £19.37m.

The cost marks a significant proportion of the agency’s budget which has been severely cut this week as spending on economic development in the regions is slashed.

Council and business-led Local Enterprise Partnerships are taking on responsibility for boosting local economies.

A Department for Business spokesman said: “We want to hand over power from Whitehall to local people, the local businesses they run and work for, and the communities they live in.

“Local Enterprise Partnerships now cover 98 per cent of all businesses in England and are working to address local challenges in their areas. We are also investing £1.4bn through the Regional Growth Fund and creating 21 new Enterprise Zones.

“Reorganising the delivery of economic development will ensure a focused targeted delivery of policy and services in areas where it can have the most benefit.

“The work will be undertaken in a way that seeks to protect taxpayers’ interests.”

The biggest single redundancy package totalled £190,781. This included a £49,000 lump sum payment, £80,000 to cover pension costs for the next seven years and another £61.000 lump sum when the individual is 60.

An agency spokesman said the payment was made under a national scheme which is no longer available.