By Hannah Brenton
Barclays bank has announced it paid £3.4 billion in bonuses last year, inciting the fury of the unions.
Barclays said it curbed bonuses by seven per cent compared to 2009. It argued the payouts were in line with the terms of the Project Merlin deal announced by chancellor George Osborne last week, where banks promised to lend £190 million and limit executive pay.
But unions responded with anger to the high bonuses, published on the same day that inflation hit the four per cent mark.
Brendan Barber, TUC general secretary, said Barclays' bonus culture needed to be tamed.
"Barclays have made a mockery of bonus restraint by giving staff a whopping 25 per cent increase in performance-related pay," he said.
"With ordinary workers facing the toughest squeeze in living standards for 90 years, it takes a special kind of arrogance to consider a pay rise ten times the level of average settlements as 'restrained'."
Barclays chief executive Bob Diamond said he was happy with the bank's performance last year.
"I am proud of what we have achieved in 2010, especially our profit growth and enhanced capital and liquidity positions," he said.
Mr Diamond's own bonus, rumoured to be near the £8 million mark, will not be announced until the company's annual report in March.
Barclays is the first bank to report for 2010 and announced total profits of £6.1 billion, up 32% from 2009. The bank's shares rose three per cent on the FTSE 100 this morning.