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Barclays 'paying for Manchester United but getting Colchester United'

Barclays was accused of "paying for Manchester United but getting Colchester United" as it faced shareholder anger over rising bonuses and falling profits.

Shareholders applauded a succession of speakers criticising its remuneration policy while the head of the bank's remuneration committee, Sir John Sunderland, was heckled, and a major investment fund said it would not back the pay measures.

Barclays recently defied calls for restraint by hiking its staff bonus pool by 10% to £2.38 billion despite profits falling by a third and plans to cut thousands of jobs.

Chairman Sir David Walker defended the pay policy, saying Barclays had to act after it faced a drain on investment bankers to US rivals last year.

But there was applause when one shareholder, Phil Clarke, questioned whether nearly 500 staff being paid £1 million were worth it - and suggested halving their packages in order to increase dividends by 50%.

Mr Clarke said the performance of Barclays shares suggested the market did not have confidence in the highly-paid employees.

He said: "We are paying for Manchester United but we are getting Colchester United."

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