Although down on the £19 billion paid out in the heady days of 2007, last year’s £14 billion is still higher than the £12 billion paid out in 2008.

The latest figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) yesterday may well cause a re-ignition of the banker bonuses row, even though much of the media attention is riveted on its own bowels via an orifice vis-a-vis the News International affair.

Overall though there is a huge disparity in the bonuses paid out to the finance sector, with the average payout being only £12,000 but those at the top, like Barclay’s Bob Diamond, walk off with a £6.5 million bonus (as well as a modest £250,000 annual salary).

But looking at total bonus pay outs across all sectors of £35 billion you can see that the finance industry picks up a whopping 40%, despite finance workers only making up 4% of the total work-force.

For those who are against such high bonuses the latest data does compare a little favourably to 2007-208 when the bankers’ £19 billion in bonuses made up 45% of all bonus payments.

But while total bankers’ bonuses were down in 2010 when compared to 2007 they were still the same as in 2009. On top of that there has been a tendency for higher wages in the City. According to the recruitment firm Kennedy Associates, reported in the Guardian, the average investment banker’s salary has increased from £175,000 four years ago to between £300,000 and £400,000 today.

The debate over bankers’ bonuses will rage on with one side saying they are obscene and the other saying they are justified.

At the end of the day, despite the public’s ire about these bonuses and politicians’ vows to address the bonus issue, nothing much has really changed and it’s still nice work if you can get it.

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