The prime minister has plead to the country’s banks to show restraint and curb bonus payments this year.

This news comes amidst speculations that Stephen Hester – the boss of state-controlled Royal Bank of Scotland – could be given a £2.5million bonus next month. It would bring his take-home pay for 2010 to about £6.8million just two years after the group had to be bailed out by the government.

David Cameron stated that banks should be more “socially responsible” and reduce their bonus pools

He said ‘On the general, I want to see the bonus pool smaller than last year,’ Mr Cameron told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show. ‘On the specific, Royal Bank of Scotland, as you rightly say, is owned by the government.

He also defended the government’s record, saying it was one of the first in the world to introduce a bank levy and set up an independent banking commission.

The British Bankers’ Association (BBA) said new rules meant large cash bonuses were a thing of the past.

Its statement said: “For all the key people, bonus targets have to be agreed with the regulator, most of the bonus has to be locked away for several years and it can be clawed back.

“The smaller part of any bonus package may be paid straight away if the Financial Services Authority agrees, but as the rest is in shares which have to be retained for some time, any cash will go straight to the taxman. This is a tougher regime than any other country.”