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Outrage Mounts At Teachers’, Nurses’ and Lollipop Ladies’ Near-£1m Bonuses

Opposition politicians joined a chorus of outcry on Friday after the government awarded nearly £1m in bonuses to public workers.

The payout, which has already been condemned by a government minister and described as “utterly unacceptable” by a Liberal Democrat peer, will net public workers such as nurses, bin-men and teachers 3.6m bank shares that can be cashed in in three years’ time. The shares are worth £963,000 at current prices.

Chuka Ummuna, the shadow business secretary, said he would not have paid public servants “any bonus in these circumstances” and called on the government to exercise more restraint when paying public workers.

Last night, the Liberal Democrat Foreign Office minister Jeremy Browne made a public appeal to public workers on BBC1’s Question Time to turn down their bonuses, equating three days of a lollipop lady’s pay with a year’s salary of a soldier “risking his life” in Afghanistan.

Norman Lamb, chief political adviser to the deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, also stepped into the debate saying that he, and most people, would be “deeply uncomfortable with bonuses of that size for people who just look after the sick, teach or help children to cross the road.”

Lord Oakeshott, the Liberal Democrat peer who resigned as a Treasury spokesman for his party a year ago over what he perceived to be the lax regulation of nursery schools and hospitals which led to the financial crisis, said the government should realise that any bonuses for “fat-cat refuse collectors and car park attendants” this year was “utterly unacceptable”.

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