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UK bonuses near to pre-crisis levels

Man holding sterling notes

Bonuses paid to UK workers during the year 2014-15 were close to the level they had been at before the financial crisis, new official figures show.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) says that in cash terms, bonuses were just 0.1% below their record level reached in 2007-08.

In the finance and insurance sector, they were below pre-downturn levels.

However, bonuses in the rest of the economy were “considerably higher” than before the global crash.

The ONS says the industry with the biggest increase in bonuses in 2014-15 was professional, scientific and technical services – up £0.9bn on the previous year – followed by information and communication, with an increase of £0.5bn.

Bonuses in finance and insurance fell by £1.5bn, but the ONS says this may have been “partly because this industry is more prone than others to concentrate their payments into a December-to-March ‘bonus season’, and in 2013, a number of bonus payments were deferred from March into April”.

It added: “Thus the 2013-14 figure in this sector might have been atypically high, with some employees receiving payments both in April 2013 and March 2014, twice within the same reporting period.”

Overall, total bonus payments in 2014-15 were £42.4bn – up 2.7% on the previous year.

Of the total, some £13.6bn was paid in the finance and insurance industry, down 9.6% on the year, and £28.8bn in the rest of the economy, which was up 9.7%.

The ONS said: “This left payments in finance and insurance over £5bn below their 2007-08 peak of £18.7bn, but those in the rest of the economy about £5bn ahead of the pre-downturn peak of £23.8bn.”

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