Civil servants earn £30m bonuses (and claim £35m in fares)

Mandarins climb aboard the 'performance-related pay' bandwagon – in the first-class compartment

Bureaucrats across Whitehall are pulling in tens of millions of pounds in bonuses at a time when the Government is attempting to cut waste throughout the public services.

The "performance-related payments", totalling more than £30m in the last year, are far from their only source of extra benefits. An Independent on Sunday investigation has revealed that thousands of staff from top mandarins downwards are taking advantage of an astonishing range of lucrative perks, including gold-plated pensions, first-class travel and hotel stays.

The revelations follow a public outcry after it emerged that Ministry of Defence staff had received millions in bonuses over the past six years.

The 10 highest-paid civil servants, including four heads of government departments, now earn more than £200,000 each, and the number of officials moving into the top pay band has soared in recent years.

The permanent secretaries who head Whitehall departments collectively decided to waive their rights to bonuses last year, "in recognition of the economic background". However, they have maintained their entitlement to a series of further perks, including generous pensions and government drivers.

Further down the management chain, the bonus culture has grown at a dramatic rate in the last five years, as departments follow orders to increase bonus provision to some 8.6 per cent of their total pay bill this year.

The Department of Work & Pensions (DWP) was the biggest payer, with a bonus pot worth almost £22m this year. The Department of Transport handed out a total of £11.2m in performance-related payments.

Average awards at the Cabinet Office, which oversees the bonus schemes, rose from £5,000 in 2004 to £9,260 last year. During the same period, the number of staff at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs receiving bonuses more than trebled to 1,800 – and the highest payment doubled to £15,640.

It has also emerged that civil servants in a dozen government departments spent more than £35.2m on first-class rail tickets in the last financial year – a staggering £135,300 for each working day. The figure for all 19 departments of state is likely to be significantly higher

Paul Burstow, the Lib Dem MP for Sutton and Cheam, said: "It raises serious questions about whether staff are in the wrong place to start with. We also need to know why civil servants aren't using video and teleconferencing instead of spending so much time and money on rail travel."

A Cabinet Office spokesman said civil servants' wages were on average less than private-sector equivalents and they had increased less quickly. He added: "Senior civil servants do not receive 'bonuses' – a portion of their pay is linked directly to performance."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Property
pets
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
Sport
football
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk