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Revealed: Bank of England staff handed £25m in bonuses

Top bankers have pocketed up to £22,500 on top of their regular salaries, as critics say there is ‘no justification’

Martin Williams
17 July 2023, 11.47am

The Bank of England handed out £25m in staff bonuses last year


Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images

The Bank of England handed out more than £25m in staff bonuses last year, while telling ordinary workers not to ask for more money, openDemocracy can reveal.

Officials at the bank were each awarded up to £22,500 on top of their regular salaries, despite its chief economist Huw Pill telling Brits to “accept” being poorer and governor Andrew Bailey calling for wage “restraint”.

Average pay at the bank is already £62,189, while Bailey is on almost half a million pounds a year.

Responding to a request under the Freedom of Information Act, the Bank of England admitted that 429 officials had been given annual "performance awards" in excess of £10,000 each.

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It comes as the bank faces criticism for its handling of the economic crisis. Top officials including Bailey have told ordinary workers not to ask for big pay rises, claiming that it will worsen inflation.

Lord Prem Sikka, a former professor of accountancy, told openDemocracy there was “no justification for bonuses” at the central bank.

“The Bank of England has done a poor job in controlling inflation, securing financial stability and taming predatory culture in the City,” he said. “There should be no bonuses until it exceeds its expected performance.”

The bank's latest accounts, published this month, also reveal a gender gap of more than 18% for staff bonuses. Female and ethnic minority staff were less likely to receive a bonus at all – and when they did, the average amount was less than male staff and white staff.

When asked if the bonus culture was justified, a spokesperson for the bank doubled down, saying: “There is no question of the bank unduly rewarding its staff.”

Earlier this month, openDemocracy revealed all of the bank's top governors and executives had accepted a pay rise last year, with the exception of Bailey.

The salaries of senior officials increased by an average of £4,300, with Bailey's team of deputies now earning between £348,000 and £378,000 each.

All employees at the bank are eligible for a bonus each year, except for the governors and chief operating officer, but this is “dependent on performance and start date within the performance year”.

A spokesperson refused to say how many of the 5,000 workers received a bonus of any amount.

“The performance award budget was fixed at the same proportion of the pay bill as the previous year,” they said.

However, the total payouts came to around £2m more than was reported last year, which is believed to be partly due to an increase in overall staff numbers.

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