British bank chief’s high bonus criticized (Lead)

January 28th, 2012 - 2:40 pm ICT by IANS  

David Cameron London, Jan 28 (IANS) Nearly one million pounds ($1.6 million) of share bonus given to Stephen Hester, boss of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), was strongly criticized by politicians in Britain.

RBS is now 82 percent owned by British taxpayers after being saved by the biggest bailout move in British history, reported Xinhua.

The 963,000-pound bonus is given on top of Hester’s 1.2 million-pound basic salary. The share bonus was valued on the bank’s closing share price Wednesday and will be deferred for three years.

Leader of Opposition Labour Party Ed Miliband called the payout a “disgraceful failure of leadership by the prime minister”.

Prime Minister David Cameron said he would regard a bonus of more than one million pounds as “unacceptable”.

“He (Cameron) must now explain, not least to the British people, why he has allowed this to happen,” Miliband said.

Even members of Cameron’s Conservative Party and his Liberal Democrat allies in the coalition government also voiced their disapproval.

Boris Johnson, the Conservative mayor of London, said he was “bewildered” and was “at a loss to justify” the scale of the bonus.

“It’s a state owned bank. So the idea that this is not in the control of the government seems to me to be far-fetched,” he said.

Deputy Prime Minister and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg also joined the condemnation.

“I have a huge amount of sympathy about people’s sense of dismay when they see these figures that seem from another planet,” he said.

Jeremy Browne, a Liberal Democrat Foreign Office Minister, said Hester should turn down the bonus.

RBS said the bonus was for “substantial progress in making RBS safer, rebuilding performance in many businesses and improving customer service and support”.

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