George Osborne spends £43,000 of taxpayers’ money defending bankers’ bonuses

The chancellor George Osborne has spent over £43,000 of taxpayers' money defending bankers' bonuses, according to new figures.

The bonus cap restricts bankers’ bonuses to 100 per cent of their pay, or 200 per cent with shareholder approval

The chancellor George Osborne has spent over £43,000 of taxpayers’ money defending bankers’ bonuses, according to new figures.

A response from the Treasury to a Freedom of Information request by Labour shadow financial secretary to the Treasury Cathy Jamieson has revealed that the total cost of external legal fees relating to the legal challenge to the bankers’ bonus cap and connected advice is £43,064.

But the true cost to the taxpayer is likely to be even higher as the figures are only for the external legal costs of the challenge and do not include the cost of civil servants who worked on the case.

The bonus cap restricts bankers’ bonuses to 100 per cent of their pay, or 200 per cent with shareholder approval.

George Osborne lodged a legal challenge with the European Court of Justice on the bonus cap in September 2013 but the move was abandoned in November 2014 when Osborne said it was “unlikely to succeed”.

Commenting on the news, Cathy Jamieson MP said:

“While working families face a cost-of-living crisis, it is astounding that George Osborne chose to waste taxpayers’ money fighting a bank bonus cap.

“His decision revealed his true priorities and showed just how out of touch he is.

“It shouldn’t have taken the EU to act to rein in excessive bonuses, but George Osborne has totally failed to act here in Britain.

“Labour will reform the banks and levy a tax on bank bonuses to fund a paid starter job for young people out of work for over a year.”

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.