Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 28 August 2014

Bonus figures fuel City pay anger

Finance and insurance workers took home average bonuses of £12,000 in the last financial year

Anger over City pay was fuelled when figures showed that workers in the finance and insurance industries pocketed average bonuses of £12,000 in the last financial year.

The average bonuses paid out by the two sectors in the year to April was £1,500 lower than the previous 12 months, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

But they still dwarfed the payouts in the economy as a whole where the average bonus was £1,400.

These City windfalls accounted for 36% of the £37 billion of bonuses across the economy, even though just 4% of total employees work in the finance and insurance industry.

But the gap between City bonuses and those in the rest of the economy has narrowed, the report revealed. Total bonuses received in the UK rose 3% in the year, with most industries enjoying an average increase, helping push pay-outs in the non-financial sectors close to their pre-recession peaks.

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: "It is a disgrace that the lure of big bonuses fuelled the recession and yet today's figures show finance workers still bringing home more in bonuses than many public service workers get paid in a year.

"The pay freeze is having a devastating impact on the families of nurses, home care workers, paramedics, dinner ladies and millions more public service workers. At the other end of the spectrum the Government is happy to sit back and let the bonus culture go on. It is time to tackle this divided Britain and put an end to this damaging pay freeze."

The reduction in City pay came after Bank of England governor Sir Mervyn King called on banks to reduce payouts and hoard cash to help them deal with any further shocks from the financial crisis.

The banking sector has also hit harder times since the financial crisis, as profits have been impacted by economic weakness, a number of scandals such as the mis-selling of payment protection insurance and a raft of new legislation.

The average bonus in the private sector was £1,700, which was more than five times the average public sector bonus of £300, although the ONS said public sector pay tends to be higher because the bonus culture is not so prevalent.

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