Trouble Border Agency pays out £7,000 bonus to one in four staff

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One in four senior civil servants at the troubled UK Border Agency received bonuses of up to £7,000 last year, figures show.

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 per cent) pocketed bonuses of between £15,000 and £20,000 and more than one in eight (13 per cent) received bonuses of between £10,000 and £15,000.

Keith Vaz, the committee’s chairman, said: “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.

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 per cent of our pay bill in SCS bonuses in 2010/11 when Cabinet Office guidance allows up to 5 per cent.”