State-owned Royal Bank of Scotland unveiled a £2 billion annual loss yesterday with no prospect for dividends for taxpayers - but that didn't stop its bonus-hungry fat cats tucking into a trough sloshing with £785 million in payouts.
Bosses at the 82 per cent taxpayer-owned bank revealed it will splash a whopping £390 million in bonuses on its 17,000 investment bankers despite losses rising drastically from a £1.1bn deficit in 2010.
It was the fourth yearly loss in a row for RBS which copped £45.5 billion in a bailout in late 2008 at the height of the bankers' crisis.
The Edinburgh-based bank, which has axed thousands of jobs, said its bonus pot was 43 per cent lower than the previous year - but don't shed any tears for the money movers.
Its investment bankers had their basic pay and benefits boosted by about a third during 2011.
RBS chairman Sir Philip Hampton and chief executive Stephen Hester waived their bonuses earlier this month after Labour led a campaign for them to refuse.
Mr Hester gave up his £963,000 all-shares bonus amid public outrage over bankers' pay while Sir Philip gave up £1.4m worth of shares he was due next month
News of big payouts for high-flyers prompted an angry response from Unite, which represents lower-paid staff at the bank.
The unfairly weighted bonus pot follows fruitless attempts by the union to get RBS to agree a fair pay deal for workers nearer the bottom of the pay scale.
Unite pointed out that if RBS had split the massive bonus pot between all the 60,000 ordinary bank workers they would get approximately £6,000 each - loose change for a City slicker.
The union's national officer David Fleming said: "Instead of walking away from pay talks, RBS should be reconsidering its derisory pay offer.
"Unite is now asking its members whether they can accept the deal and are seeking members' views on the proposal."
Public-sector union Unison general secretary Dave Prentis, whose members have been hit with a pay freeze and assault on pensions, branded the payouts a "reward for failure."
The bonus pot could fund more than 32,000 nurses, midwives and paramedics, 27,000 trained social workers, or over 68,000 care workers to help support elderly and vulnerable people to stay in their homes.
Mr Prentis added that the bankers' bonuses were "another clear sign we're not all in this together."
Millionaire Chancellor George Osborne said RBS is "cleaning up the mess after the biggest bank bailout in history."
But blast from the past Tory MP John Redwood, an ex-cabinet minister, crawled out of the woodwork to say that the bank should be broken up and sold to boost Treasury finances.
Leader of the House Sir George Young said Mr Redwood's "radical suggestion for a fresh approach" could be discussed following Mr Osborne's March 21 Budget.
However RBS shares have plunged since its taxpayer bailout, casting major doubt on the financial benefits of flogging the state's stake.
If you appreciated this article then please consider donating to the Morning Star's Fighting Fund to ensure we can keep developing your paper.
Nothing will bring back the hundreds of British soldiers killed fighting in Iraq at Tony Blair's behest.
Under a modicum of scrutiny the PM's international 'achievements' quickly unravel
The Con-Dems have had it their way too long. We have to turn this country around