Ed Miliband says RBS bank boss should not get bonus
The boss of Royal Bank of Scotland should not get a bonus this year, Ed Miliband has said, as his party seeks to intensify pressure on the issue.
The Labour leader told the BBC that, "if responsibility means anything", Stephen Hester should not get a payout.
The bank's remuneration committee is expected to meet soon amid reports Mr Hester could receive a bonus of up to £1.5m, although the bank denied this.
Ministers say they have acted to curb cash bonuses at the bank.
For the past two years taxpayer-supported RBS Group and Lloyds Banking Group have paid no cash bonuses of more than £2,000.
Mr Miliband's comments come ahead of a Commons debate on bank bonuses on Monday and the publication of the government's review of executive pay and transparency - expected on Tuesday.
'Footing the bill'
The taxpayer owns an 83% stake in RBS Group following its near-collapse and government bailout in 2008.
The firm has announced thousands of job losses since then although it recorded a £2bn profit in its most recent trading period compared with a £1.6bn loss in the same period in 2010.
Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live's Pienaar's Politics programme, Mr Miliband said the government faced a "big decision" about what to do about Mr Hester's bonus.
"I don't think he should be getting his bonus. You know the state is still owning a share in the Royal Bank of Scotland, taxpayers are still, you know, footing the bill for what's happening at the Royal Bank of Scotland.
"You know if responsibility means anything, I don't think he should be getting his bonus.
"And the prime minister, if he's true to his word, would exercise his responsibility to do something about that."
Asked about the issue earlier on Sunday, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said ministers were "constrained" by contractual arrangements agreed by the last government at the time of Mr Hester's appointment.
But he denied this meant the government was powerless to influence the bank's decisions.
"There has been no agreement yet (on the bonus)," he told the BBC's Andrew Marr show.
"There is an arm's-length body, UK Financial Investments, that represents our interests in these decisions and they haven't yet arrived at a decision on the RBS bonuses."
He added: "We have been very, very clear that in RBS - and for that matter in other banks - the bonus pool has got to be considerably lower than it was last year.
"The Bank of England, the Financial Services Authority, are saying exactly the same thing because any money that is spare should be where possible be used to repair the banks' balance sheets."