Austerity? Five HSBC fat cats share £35 million

New figures show HSBC's top earner raked in £8.4 million, while 180 UK staff pocketed bonuses averaging £600,000, and HSBC paid just £236 million in UK corporation tax last year - despite doubling its profits to £11.8billion.

Austerity? Tough times? A wage freeze? A “cost of living crisis“? Not for the HSBC fat cats who raked in millions last year, figures revealed this week, with five of these unnamed individuals sharing £35 million, an average of £7 million each. HSBC’s top earner raked in £8.4 million, while 180 UK staff pocketed bonuses averaging £600,000. HSBC paid just £236 million in UK corporation tax last year – despite doubling its profits to £11.8billion.

David Hillman, of the Robin Hood Tax campaign, said of the figures:

“These sky-high profits and Lottery-sized pay packets are a slap in the face for millions of people whose jobs and services are being cut. The public will not forgive our politicians for allowing bankers to award themselves billions of pounds while we pay to clean up the mess they caused.”

While TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said:

“Banks seem to think that tax is only for the little people – a sentiment felt all too well by small businesses saddled with the recent VAT hike that banks are not paying either.

“Despite causing the financial crash that led to the global recession and widening deficit, banks are paying the least towards repairing the mess they created. HSBC’s tiny corporation tax bill, despite soaring multi-billion pound profits, makes a mockery of the UK tax system.”

The figures came to light as a result of new disclosure rules in Hong Kong, under which the salaries of the five highest paid people have to be specified – including traders – while in the UK disclosure applies only to the five people who report to the chief executive, leading to criticism UK rules on disclosure are not tight enough.

Lord Oakeshott, who left the government last month over the coalition’s failure to take adequate action on bankers’ bonuses, said:

“British disclosure standards under what is Project Mirage are less than half Hong Kong’s. Shareholders and non-executives need to know all the biggest packages, not just the ones it suits to show.”

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