Taxpayers funded a surge in redundancy payments last year after a spate of High Street shop and restaurant failures,saccording to property advisor Altus Group.
The amount paid out by the government's Insolvency Service rose to its highest level in seven years, figures obtained by the 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.