The Financial Services Authority (FSA) officials, the ones at the regulator of the UK’s almost collapsed banking system, received bonuses of £19.7 million last month – a 40 per cent rise on last year’s bonus. How is this justified?

We’ve all read reports of fat cat bosses at utility companies and financial organisations in London receiving hundreds of thousands of pounds in bonuses and been outraged at this news, but at least these people were only in charge of one bank or one company, yet the FSA presides over all our banking system so it is no wonder the public is outraged at this news.

Figures were released under the Freedom of Information Act request, in the same way that we discovered our MP’s were using taxpayer’s money to line their own pockets. The figures showed one FSA official received £90,000 as a bonus and another ten members of staff received over £50,000. On average, the 2,500 members of staff at the FSA received almost £8,000 each in April. 174 staff members are on a six figure salary and received over £22,000 in bonuses. Only three were not paid a bonus.

To highlight the fact these bonuses do not appear deserved, at the same time we discover that the FSA had identified Northern Rock as a weak member of the banking system three years before its collapse in 2004 so perhaps the credit crunch and the recession we find ourselves suffering from could have been prevented had these FSA officials taken action.

The Liberal Democrat frontbencher who obtained the figures, Don Foster, commented:

“Given the crisis we have seen in the financial services industry, I find it utterly bizarre that the FSA is actually paying bonuses to anyone this year. Bonuses should only be paid when someone has performed beyond the call of duty. Many people are concerned that the FSA has failed to perform the basic functions it should have done.”

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