Stephen Hester Bonus: William Hague Says More Could Be Done To Curb Payout Culture

Stephen Hester Bonus

First Posted: 30/01/2012 09:23 Updated: 30/01/2012 09:23

William Hague has hinted the government could do more “as and when necessary” to curb the banking sector's bonus culture, after RBS chief Stephen Hester turned down his £963,000 payout.

The foreign secretary said Hester’s decision was “sensible and welcome” and stressed the government had made “changes” to rein in high pay.

"I don't think we should rule out doing more as and when necessary”, he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

Labour’s shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna compared staff in the majority taxpayer owned bank to other public sector workers facing a pay cap.

"We are not opposed to the concept of a bonus. But this is a time when people listening to this programme are facing the biggest squeeze on their incomes in a generation, not least other. and I use that word deliberately, other public sector workers are being forced to take a 1 per cent pay increase cap on their salaries.That's the big issue here,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Monday.

But Tory MP Mark Field hit out at the “lynch mob mentality” surrounding Hester’s payout.

“Its pretty unedifying watching politicians doing it, actually, I don't like to see political figures jumping on a particular bandwagon to kick the guy," he told BBC Radio 5 Live on Monday morning.

The Telegraph reports the Treasury could have clawed back £500,000 of the £963,000 bonus in tax.

Labour leader Ed Miliband has said the row is indicative of David Cameron’s "failure of leadership". The party had been planning to force a vote in parliament on Hester’s bonus.

Chuka Umunna: Other public sector workers facing pay freeze
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"We are not opposed to the concept of a bonus. But this is a time when people listening to this programme are facing the biggest squeeze on their incomes in a generation, not least other, and I use that word deliberately, other public sector workers are being forced to take a 1% pay increase cap on their salaries.That's the big issue here."

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Filed by Dina Rickman  |