Ministry of Defence civil servants have collected almost £40 million in bonuses in the past year, it was reported today.
More than 50,000 officials shared £37.9 million, an average of £697 each, while 56 senior staff were awarded £505,000 between them, or £9,000 each, according to figures obtained by The Sunday Telegraph.
One senior civil servant received a bonus of £85,831. Another was given £64,459.
The figures, which have been paid out since last April, are published annually but the latest update comes amid a furious political row about the bonus culture in the City.
They also come against a backdrop of job losses and pay restraint for members of the Armed Forces.
The Sunday Telegraph reported that even more was paid out in bonuses at the Department of Work and Pensions, where £51 million was awarded. Other Whitehall departments have similar salary structures incorporating performance pay.
An MoD spokesman said: "Difficult decisions have had to be taken to deal with the black hole the Government inherited; this has included reductions to military and civilian personnel.
"Under a three-year agreement made by the last government performance awards were part of the total wage bill paid out, it is just that a proportion of pay was spent on a performance basis.
"More than half of all MoD civil servants earn less than £20,000 a year, and in 2010-11 the average award, which is taxable, was around £650. The new government has since implemented a pay freeze."