Cameron confirms £2,000 RBS bonus limit

Wednesday 15 January 2014 18.15
David Cameron promises to veto proposals to increase the overall pay bill at RBS
David Cameron promises to veto proposals to increase the overall pay bill at RBS

Cash bonuses at Royal Bank of Scotland will be limited to £2,000 next year, British Prime Minister David Cameron has told the country's parliament.

Mr Cameron said the existing £2,000 cap would continue to apply and he also promised to veto proposals to increase the overall pay bill.

RBS owns Ulster Bank here.

His comments came after Labour tabled a parliamentary motion calling on the British government, as the majority shareholder in RBS, to reject any request from the bank for permission to pay bonuses of up to double an employee's annual salary.

"I can confirm today that just as we have had limits on cash bonuses of £2,000 at RBS this year and last year, we will do the same next year as well," Mr Cameron said.

"If there are any proposals to increase the overall pay, that is pay and bonus bill at RBS, at the investment bank, any proposals for that, we will veto it," he added.

Meanwhile, Bank of England governor Mark Carney said he does not back a "crude bonus cap" on pay in banks or proposals to restrict their size.

His remarks to MPs on the Treasury Select Committee are likely to be seen as a rejection of Labour rhetoric on the financial sector.

Mr Carney said he "absolutely" agreed with the conclusions of the parliamentary commission on banking standards that it was not convinced a "crude bonus cap" was the right way to control pay.

The governor also backed a separate commission led by John Vickers that a cap on banks' market share would "not result in substantial improvement to competition".

"Just breaking up an institution doesn't necessarily create or enable a more intensive competitive structure," Mr Carney said.

An EU bonus cap means pay-outs of more than 100% of basic salary must be approved by shareholders but this is being challenged by the UK government in the courts.

Chancellor George Osborne has warned that the cap will not lead to bankers' receiving less money, as financial institutions would respond by paying higher basic salaries, which would be more difficult to claw back if things went wrong.