GMB union calls for councils to reel in agency staff costs after £1,546m bill revelation

UK councils spent more than £1,546m on agency and temporary staff in 2005-06, according to figures from the GMB union.

The union has written to council leaders to request that they curb their spending after a report revealed that London boroughs spent more than £471m employing temporary workers over the past year.

Lincolnshire Council is top of the UK league of 434 councils with a total of £54.5m in agency staff costs.

Birmingham Council comes second, spending £51.5 m, followed by Ealing in West London at £44.2 m.  

Other big spenders included Lancashire (£35.1 m) and Enfield (£30.9 m).

Brian Strutton, GMB national secretary for public services said, “This GMB study uses the data provided by each council under the Freedom of Information Act.

“Council spending on temporary and agency staff generally represents very bad value for money for the public. In most cases the only winners are the employment agencies, which take a considerable slice of this money for administration and profits.

“The temporary staff, meanwhile, get paid less than the permanent staff, while the councils pay more to the agency than it would cost to employ the workers direct.”

About 46 councils have not responded to GMB’s request to publish their figures.

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