Banks 'in talks to slash bonuses'
Banker bonuses are back in the spotlight amid speculation that the level of payouts earmarked for next year will be slashed.
Reports that major British banks were holding talks to discuss reducing the staff bonus pot fuelled the debate on City handouts once more among ministers and business leaders.
It is estimated banks will pay out a total of £7 billion in bonuses for this year, but banks could reportedly be pressured to cut this by nearly half to £4 billion.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said it was reasonable for the public to want bankers to show "restraint" with their bonuses.
He said: "In these challenging times, millions of workers across the public and private sectors are working out how to do more for less and often undergoing pay freezes.
"Banks have been significant recipients of public generosity in the past few years. In return, it is quite reasonable to have high expectations of the way they conduct business and that they are encouraged to show restraint in how they reward themselves during this difficult time."
John Cridland, the newly appointed director general at the CBI, added that bankers should be able to show they have earned their windfalls.
He said: "The important part about executive remuneration and bonuses is that shareholders and other stakeholders can see that it is earned."
Richard Lambert, the outgoing head of the CBI, also said bankers would seem "arrogant and out of touch" if they carried on paying bonuses while the public sector wrestled with swingeing cuts.
The British Bankers' Association (BBA) played down reports it had hosted meetings with the banks to discuss pay rewards.