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Union fury over £4bn bonuses for bankers as fat cats profit from Covid pandemic

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City bankers will trouser a record £4billion in bonuses after making massive profits during the pandemic.

The bonanza comes as most people face a huge hike in the cost of living and some have to choose between eating and heating.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady called the bonuses “an insult to working families across Britain”.

And Gary Smith, leader of the GMB union, said they were a “kick in the teeth” for those who are struggling to pay their bills.

The big four banks – NatWest, Lloyds, Barclays and HSBC – are expected to report profits of £34billion from last year, creating the £4billion bonus pot.

TUC General secretary Frances O’Grady
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Image:

PA)

It follows a frenzied year of international deals in which dozens of big names were snapped up by overseas private equity firms and hedge funds at rock-bottom prices. For the banks, it was the best year since before the 2008 financial crash, which resulted in years of austerity for most.

NatWest – half of which is still owned by the taxpayer after it was bailed out in the crash – is set to pay out almost £300million in bonuses on a ­£4billion profit from last year.

Barclays is this week expected to post profits of more than £8billion, with bonuses of ­almost £2billion.

One of those likely to pocket a fortune is Jes Staley, its former chief executive, who quit in November over his links to ­paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

The huge paydays, which will be unveiled over the next week, come days after Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey – paid almost £5.8million last year – called on workers not to ask for big pay rises in an attempt to curb inflation.

Ms O’Grady added: “No such restraint is being asked of the City. We should be ­holding down bonuses, not ordinary people’s wages.”

Jack Leslie, of the Resolution Foundation think-tank, said: “The Government should look to tax income more efficiently and fairly, with better taxation of wealth a key area for improvement.”

Katy Chakrabortty, Oxfam’s Head of Policy, said: “The fact bankers can enjoy their billion-pound bonuses while those on the breadline face the biggest squeeze in decades highlights the desperate need to transform our economy so it works for everyone.”

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