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Banks 'paid out £14bn in bonuses' last year

Banks and other financial groups in the UK could be risking the ire of the general public by continuing to hand out large bonuses.

It has been revealed that the institutions awarded almost £14 billion ($22.5 billion) in such payments in 2010, despite the government's Project Merlin initiative attempting to curb such practices.

According to figures from the Office for National Statistics, around 40 per cent of the overall £35 billion-worth of UK bonuses was made up by financial and insurance-related sums.

It means the average handout in the financial sector was £12,500 - an amount markedly larger than the £1,670 paid to private sector workers and the £180 received by public sector employees.

Brendan Barber, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress - which represents around 6.2 million workers - said: "City bonuses are still far too high and the incentives for risky and damaging decisions far too great, especially when bankers know that taxpayers will have to pick up the tab."

By Asim Shah