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the watcher

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« on: December 31, 2012, 12:04:10 AM »


Sunday December 30,2012

By Ted Jeory and Matt Davis

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CIVIL servants pocketed ?132million in bonus ?payments last year as well as enjoying a bumper crop of gongs in the New Year Honours list.

In reward for pushing through policies to cut spending and waste in other areas of Government, some 200,000 bureaucrats collected bonus cash averaging ?500,000 every working day.

Dozens of them received more good news yesterday when it emerged 124 civil servants and quango chiefs had been honoured with CBEs and other awards. That compares with just 68 British athletes who received similar accolades.

The quota system for honours means civil servants are always favoured above all others. However, the banker-style bonus payouts are likely to surprise many, given that Chancellor George Osborne announced a two-year public sector pay freeze in his 2010 Budget.

The largest payments were made to officials at the Department for Work and Pensions where employees were given a total of ?50.4million.

This came despite the DWP admitting an estimated ?3.4billion in benefits was paid out due to fraud or error in the past year. Terry Moran, the ?160,000-a-year chief operating officer and Sue Owen, the ?130,000-a-year Director General (Welfare and Wellbeing Group), both received ?15,000.

The Government promised to sweep away the so-called ?all must have prizes? culture in the civil service. Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said ministries should make bonus payments only for ?genuine excellence? and not ?run-of-the-mill performance?. Yet at the DWP figures show that 94 per cent of staff were handed a bonus that averaged almost ?500 last year.

In addition, staff received close to 100,000 shopping vouchers worth ?2.5million as part of their incentive schemes. Home Office officials received ?4.1million in bonus payments last year with one in five of all staff receiving a handout.

Helen Kilpatrick, who was the ?210,000-a-year Director General Finance and Commercial but has now moved into the top job of Permanent Secretary, received ?10,000.


The largest payments were made to officials at the Department for Work and Pensions


Yasmin Diamond was paid a bonus of ?5,000 on top of her ?130,000 salary as the Home Office?s Director of Communications. However, she left her post at the start of this year to take up a job with Intercontinental Hotels.

The Department of Health has seen its bonus payments rise from ?1.25million to ?1.5million but blames an increase in staff numbers. At the Department for Transport, where bonus payments have gone from ?10.6million to ?11.3million, the rise was blamed on the Driving Standards Agency, which paid an incentive scheme handout for the first time in three years.

At the Department for Communities and Local Government bonus payments have fallen sharply since Eric Pickles took over. In the last year of the Labour Government the department?s civil servants collected an extra ?1million but this has now fallen to ?544,000.

Matthew Sinclair, of the TaxPayers? Alliance, said: ?Taxpayers will be angry seeing their money spent on such handsome bonuses for senior staff in the public sector.?

A Cabinet Office spokesman said: ?Bonuses have been restricted to the top 25 per cent of performers, saving about ?15million.?

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