LONDON Aug 29 Bonuses for Britain's bankers and
insurance workers rose at double the pace of those for the total
workforce last year, despite politicians' and regulators'
attempts to clamp down on bumper payouts at financial firms.
Employees in the finance and insurance industry were on
average paid a bonus of 13,300 pounds ($22,100) in the year to
April, up 5.5 percent on a year earlier, according to data
released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) on Friday.
Across the whole of the UK workforce, the average bonus per
employee was just over 1,500 pounds, 2.6 percent higher than the
Politicians have been trying to crack down on generous
bonuses in financial services following the credit crunch. Many
blame such incentives for encouraging excessive risk-taking,
which destabilised banks that then needed to be bailed out.
The Bank of England last month tightened measures around
bonuses, increasing the number of years in which payouts can be
clawed back to seven.
The European Union has also introduced a new rule that
limits bonuses to no more than annual salary, or twice that with
shareholder approval. It will apply to awards handed out from
Banks including Barclays and Bank of America
Merrill Lynch have found ways to counter the cap, such
as hiking fixed pay and giving special allowances.
Mining and quarrying workers were paid the second-highest
average bonuses of 7,000 pounds. Employees in education, health
and social work fared the worst, with negligible bonuses per
head figures, the ONS said.
A total of 40.5 billion pounds was paid out in bonuses to
British workers in the 12 months to April, almost 5 percent more
than in the previous year. The finance and insurance industry
contributed 14.4 billion pounds of that figure.
Bonus awards made up 6 percent of total pay across the whole
economy, the highest percentage since before 2008 and the
economic downturn, when bonuses accounted for 7.1 percent.
($1 = 0.6023 British Pounds)
(Reporting by Clare Hutchison; Editing by Mark Potter)