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High-street bank staff bonuses should be paid in shares if over 2,000, says shadow chancellor

High-street retail banks have come under attack by the Conservatives, with the shadow chancellor, George Osborne, calling for bonuses of more than 2,000 to be banned.

Speaking to the BBC this morning, Osborne said bonuses of a value higher than £2,000 should be awarded in shares instead of cash. The Tories claim this could free up up to £20 billion, which could then be lent to businesses and consumers.

Osborne said: "Money should be used to lend out to the economy, to deal with the credit crunch which is still raging in Britain, if not in other countries in the world."

"Most of these high-street banks are large investment banks. They should be lending out across the economy. They shouldn't be paying out large bonuses. You could still pay bonuses, but pay them out in shares in the company, so that if the company does badly you don't get rewarded."

He denied lower earning bank clerks who depend on their bonus to top up their salaries would suffer from the initiative.