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Public redundancy bill hits seven-year high

Taxpayers funded a surge in redundancy payments last year after a spate of High Street shop and restaurant failures, a study shows.
The amount paid out by the government's Insolvency Service rose to its highest level in seven years, figures obtained by property advisor Altus Group show.
It follows a number of high-profile failures, including Mothercare and Thomas Cook.
As a result, the Insolvency Service picked up a £346m bill, Altus says.
That was 16% higher than in 2018.
A freedom of information request by the real estate consultancy revealed that £223m of last year's bill covered redundancy payments.
Another £64m was for money that would have been earned if staff had worked a notice period.
The rest covered unpaid holiday, as well as outstanding payments for wages, overtime and commission that were still owed to employees after a business went bust.
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