£12,500 bonuses in financial sector

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Workers in the financial sector enjoyed average bonuses of £12,500 last year as pay-outs showed little sign of falling despite efforts to curb City excesses, according to official figures today.

The financial and insurance sector paid out bonuses worth £14 billion in the year to the end of March - the same as the previous year, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The sector accounts for 40% of the bonuses paid throughout the country, despite employing just 4% of the workforce.

A slight rise in the number of people employed in the sector meant that the average bonus pocketed by employees dropped by just £100.

This compares with people working in health and social care sectors, whose bonuses were "negligible".

The Treasury earlier this year thrashed out Project Merlin agreements with the biggest banks in a bid to curb the bonus culture which helped create the financial crisis by encouraging bankers to take risks.

However, the agreements came into force in the current financial year and are not believed to have had an impact on the ONS's latest findings.