Monday, 16 November 2009

MP anger over £2m student loan bonuses

SOLIHULL MP Lorely Burt today it was “outrageous” that student loan bosses had pocketed £2m in bonuses – while failing to get cash to youngsters.

She spoke after the Liberal Democrats found the firm had paid £1,893,000 in bonuses between 2007 and 2009.

This is despite failing to pay more than 100,000 students, she said in a statement.

The Lib Dem MP said: "It is outrageous that the Student Loans Company, which has acted so incompetently this year, has been paying out these mouth-watering bonuses.

"While students away at university have been struggling to make ends meet, the company's top executives have been rewarded with five figure sums.

"Some of these pay-outs are more than many people earn in a year. Rewarding failure in this way is totally unacceptable."

The Press Association reports that 10 senior executives got five-figure payouts

It said 1,603 out of 1,876 SLC staff got bonuses. Expenses were £1.2, up from £793,000 the previous year.

It reported: “Ministers ordered an inquiry after almost 150,000 students who had applications approved were left without funding at the start of the new academic term.

“This year was the first time freshers applied directly to the SLC for grants and loans and the new arrangement has been beset by problems as it struggled to cope with demand.”

It quotes the SLC saying it "operates a bonus scheme structure to reward hard working staff".

It added: “Employees' objectives are monitored throughout the year and they are given an individual performance assessment at the end of the year.”

Chief executive Ralph Seymour-Jackson recently said: “While the vast majority of students have received their funding, we apologise that a number of students are still experiencing difficulties.”

The SLC is a private limited not-for-profit company wholly funded by the Government. It hands out loans to more than a million students a year and collects repayments from more than two million.