Put a stop to these obscene bonuses

It does seem more than a little incongruous that at a time when British taxpayers are being asked to underwrite the losses of banks\' mismanagement, offenders such as Northern Rock are poised to hand staff millions in bonuses.

Apparently, this is a reward for repaying the bailout money at a faster rate than budgeted for. And while it would be hypocritically pious of me to suggest there is no place for financial incentives, now is not the time and banking not the industry in which such payments should be made.

The spurious justification for Northern Rock’s payout is that it keeps its staff motivated to aid its recovery.

So in what way wouldn’t the P45 incentive scheme have the same effect? What would non-incentivised staff do? Withdraw their labour and join the other two million souls who are without jobs?

It surely sticks in the craw of all but those in the banking sector, while the rest of us are made to suffer the financial consequences of its profligacy. Northern Rock is proposing to reward staff for cleaning up a mess of its own making.

Not only should the government intervene to prevent this, it should pass legislation to claw back the obscene bonuses that banking chiefs have recently pocketed for bringing their paymasters to near bankruptcy.

You wouldn’t find such disgraceful behaviour in our nobler professions such as estate agency.