Britain seeks EU support on bank bonus disclosures

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Finance minister George Osborne is to write to his EU counterparts as Britain seeks common rules on the disclosure of bankers' bonuses, a Treasury spokesperson said on Thursday.

It follows the conclusions of a government-commissioned report a year ago that called on British banks to disclose details of bankers' annual bonuses above one million pounds (1.2 million euros, 1.6 million dollars).

The report's author, David Walker, this week reiterated the need for wider action, insisting that a go-it-alone policy by London would place British banks at a competitive disadvantage.

"The chancellor (Osborne) will be writing to his EU counterparts to suggest new EU-wide transparency rules on bankers' bonuses, in line with Sir David Walker's recommendations," a Treasury spokesperson said in a statement sent to AFP.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Osborne's decision to hand the issue over to Brussels follows intense lobbying against a more transparent regime that would force banks to disclose details of bonus payments, the Financial Times said.

Osborne's move also means that British banks will not face new disclosure rules during the highly-sensitive bonus rounds in February and March next year, the business daily added in a report published on Thursday.

Osborne has however not excluded unilateral action and could try to expand international co-operation on bank pay, possibly to the United States, at a later stage, according to the newspaper.

Walker's review was commissioned by the previous government led by prime minister Gordon Brown, whose Labour party lost a general election earlier this year, making way for a Conservatives-Liberal Democrat coalition.

Osborne is a member of the Conservatives, led by Prime Minister David Cameron.

© 2010 AFP

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