The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has revealed that it paid out £1,784,431 in bonuses in 2010 and 2011. In response to a request from Labour’s Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Caroline Flint, Greg Barker, the Minister for Energy and Climate Change, said: “End of year non-consolidated performance awards are used to reward the department’s highest performers as assessed in their end of year appraisal reports.”

He added: “Non-consolidated, in year special awards are used to recognise performance or behaviours which might not be fully reflected in an end of year performance appraisal. These may be used to reward staff for exceptional pieces of work or taking on additional responsibilities.”

The Labour party has been quick to pounce on the department’s bonus admissions, lambasting DECC for paying “over 100 employees bonuses bigger than the typical annual household energy bill.”  

Flint said: “Hard-pressed families and pensioners struggling to make ends meet will be astonished that out of touch Ministers at the Department for Energy and Climate Change have paid their staff over a million pounds in bonuses, while energy bills have soared. Edward Davey has serious questions to answer about why his Department is paying out so much in bonuses, while everyone else is struggling with soaring energy bills.”

The news comes after a group of solar installers demanded that DECC pay £2.2 million in damages as a result of the department's catastrophic handling of cuts to the solar feed-in tariff last year.