Barclays defied calls for pay restraint as it announced a 10% hike in its staff bonus pool to £2.4 billion, while confirming plans to cut up to 12,000 jobs this year.

The group said on Monday that around 7000 jobs would be lost across the UK - including some branch-based roles - under plans to slash costs across the group. It added that about half of the affected employees had already been informed.

The controversial bonus increase on last year's £2.2bn haul, which comes despite a 32% drop in underlying annual profits to £5.2bn, fuelled anger over City pay.

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The figures were announced when the group took the unusual step of announcing its headline full-year results a day early.

The payout will see its 26,200 investment banking employees share £1.6bn for 2013, up 13% on 2012, an average of £60,100 each.

Chief executive Antony Jenkins defended the increase in staff incentives, saying that the group believed in "paying for performance and paying competitively".