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Banking bonus bonanza

FINANCE union Unite blasted bankers for their “culture of greed and excess” yesterday after record bonuses were paid out despite government assurances they would be curbed.

7 billion pounds of bonuses to top executives are still being paid despite many of Britain’s leading financiers being bailed out by the taxpayer.

According to the latest research the profits of the UK’s top five banks soared to £37 billion in 2010 and are predicted to rise to £51.7 billion this year.

The profits of taxpayer-owned Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland are likely to more than double to £6.5 billion and £5 billion in the coming year.

Previously RBS paid more than 100 bankers at the group’s investment banking wing were £1 million last year, even though the Edinburgh-based giant racked up £27.9bn of losses during 2008 and 2009.

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has been accused of “surrendering” to the banks despite new European wide rules supposedly designed to curb the bonus culture.

Len McCluskey, Unite General Secretary elect said: “News that the government is allowing the investment bankers to again award themselves colossal bonuses demonstrates the lame nature of this coalition.

“It is intolerable that within taxpayer funded institutions these undeserving rich bankers have not been forced to change their culture of greed and excess. The self-indulgence of these bankers has brought our economy to its knees and yet this government refuses to veto their unjustifiable bonuses.

The news that bankers are continuing to cash in on the taxpayer bailout comes after it was revealed that Wall Street bank’s third most senior executive Colm Kelleher moved to London receiving thousands of pounds in expenses and re-location costs at the end of last year.

Mr McCluskey added: “The actions of these bankers over the last three years have laid bare their inability to grasp the public disgust at their behaviour as they continue to line their pockets with inappropriate and excessive bonuses.’

Andrew Fisher, LEAP co-ordinator, said: “As the banks return to business as usual with a bonus bonanza, hundreds of thousands of public sector workers face a two year pay freeze.

“It was the taxpayer that bailed out the entire banking system, and is still owed hundreds of billions by these banks

“While working people suffer cuts to services, a VAT hike and pay freezes, the government has allowed the very people who caused the crisis to continue to award themselves seven figure bonuses.”

And RMT general secretary Bob Crow added: “My advice to any worker told they should take a pay freeze or a pay cut this year is to point to the bankers, stand firm and demand a fair deal. That is exactly what RMT will be doing. Our members didn’t create this crisis and those that did are laughing all the way to the bank.

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