One in four senior civil servants at the troubled UK Border Agency received bonuses of up to £7,000 last year, figures showed today.
A fifth took home a bonus of between £4,500 and £5,000, while one in 25 pocketed bonuses of between £5,000 and £7,000 for work carried out in 2010/11, the figures released by the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee showed.
But Dame Helen Ghosh, the Permanent Secretary at the Home Office, said the data showed that the percentage and size of bonuses paid to staff have "reduced substantially" over the last four years.
For work in 2007/8, almost two-thirds of senior civil servants in the UKBA received bonuses of between £6,000 and £22,000.
One in 50 received bonuses of between £20,000 and £22,000, one in 10 (11%) pocketed bonuses of between £15,000 and £20,000 and more than one in eight (13%) received bonuses of between £10,000 and £15,000.
Keith Vaz, the committee's chairman, said: "In January 2011, we recommended that no bonuses should be paid to senior staff.
"Despite this, the Permanent Secretary has revealed that some staff have been rewarded with bonuses of up to £10,000.
"The payment of bonuses in the midst of failures such as the relaxation of border controls, the inability to clear the asylum backlog and the reluctance to tackle bogus colleges through unannounced inspections must cease.
"We will continue to monitor the Home Office's progress on this throughout the year."
For work in 2009/10, two-thirds (67%) of UKBA senior civil servants received a bonus of between £3,500 and £10,000, other figures released in the letter from Dame Helen to the committee showed.
Three in 10 received between £5,000 and £10,000, while more than a third (37%) received bonuses of between £3,500 and £5,000.
And for work in 2008/09, almost three-quarters (72%) of UKBA senior civil servants received a bonus of between £7,500 and £15,000.
Around one in eight (12%) received between £10,000 and £15,000, while three-fifths (60%) received bonuses of between £7,500 and £10,000.
Dame Helen said the reductions in bonuses over the last four years "reflect changes in Government policy on SCS (senior civil servant) bonuses".
She added: "We have chosen to exercise restraint and therefore paid 1.7% of our pay bill in SCS bonuses in 2010/11 when Cabinet Office guidance allows up to 5%."
A UKBA spokesman said: "Only top performers who have consistently worked to a high standard are recognised in this way and we have significantly reduced both the value and number of payments made to senior managers.
"The highest bonus paid last year was £7,000 and only a quarter of senior staff received a bonus. Across the rest of the organisation, the average bonus was just £550."
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