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£3.5bn losses, but RBS still hands out £421m bonuses

TAXPAYER-BACKED RBS reported losses of £3.5 billion last year but said yesterday it still plans to hand out £421 million in bonuses in a move even its boss admitted was “outrageous.”

Thousands more staff are also set to go at the bank, which announced that it will hack back its investment banking.

Finance union Unite said it was “deeply concerned” at news of the “significant” fresh cuts. The bank has already laid off 30,000 workers since the state took an 80 per cent stake in 2008.

The closure plans will go ahead despite underlying profits at the bank hitting £3.5bn.

A £4bn “goodwill” write-down of assets relating to its US operation plunged RBS into the red overall.

Astonishingly even chief executive Ross McEwan admitted yesterday that people were “quite right” to see plans for bumper bonus payouts as “outrageous.”

He told BBC Radio 4: “To be quite honest they are right.”

But he added: “It’s not something I am going to change,” claiming that it was simply fair pay “for people to do these jobs.”

Mr McEwan will trouser a pay package worth £2.7m this year.

But thousands of low-paid support workers now face an uncertain future.

Unite national officer Rob MacGregor said: “Today’s announcement won’t leave the wealthy traders devastated and worried about how they pay their mortgages.

“It will be the worker in the back office earning £20,000 per year who now faces uncertainty about what the future holds.”

The union is seeking urgent talks with the bank to identify the intended victims of its plan and “a proper consultation period with Unite involving serious negotiations about how the business will be restructured,” said Mr MacGregor.

Chancellor George Osborne has already said that there are no plans for an immediate sell-off of the country’s shares in the bank.

RBS shares have not yet returned to the £4.55 level at which Britain shelled out in 2008, although they recently hit £4 for the first time in more than three years.

But Mr Osborne is slashing the state stake in Lloyds over coming months amid its expected return to multibillion-pound profits.


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