Thousands of Whitehall mandarins saw their bonuses soar by up to 20 per cent last year.
That was despite repeated pledges by ministers to crack down on public sector profligacy.
And it follows yesterday's astonishing revelation that there are 172 senior civil servants who earn over £150,000 - more than the Prime Minister.
Bonus bonanza: Whitehall mandarins have enjoyed a rise in bonuses of up to 20 per cent
In total, civil servants in Government departments were given bonuses worth nearly £130million - the equivalent of £2 for every man, woman and child in Britain.
A survey by the Daily Mail has found that more than half of the departments paid higher rewards to civil servants than the year before.
Bureaucrats in the Foreign Office were among the biggest beneficiaries, with an 18 per cent hike in the total value of bonuses in just one year.
Staff in the Equalities Office - the former pet department of Labour's acting leader Harriet Harman - saw their bonus pots double in just 12 months. The shocking examples of Whitehall excess comes as a civil service union chief claimed that the pay and perks of senior mandarins were 'modest'.
Jonathan Baume, leader of the First Division Association that represents senior staff, also made a thinly veiled attack on David Cameron, suggesting that the Prime Minister could afford a pay cut because he was a 'millionaire'.
Mr Baume was responding to Business Secretary Vince Cable, who had urged 'more discipline' in public sector pay following the disclosure over civil servants' vast pay.
The Government has Whitehall's bonus culture in its sights as part of plans to cut Britain's eye-watering deficit by more than £6billion.
But in an extraordinary defence, Mr Baume said: 'These are relatively high salaries compared to the average but they are modest in most cases compared to the private sector. They are the jobs at the very top of an enormous organisation operating across the UK.'
Asked about comparisons to the Prime Minister's salary, he said: 'David Cameron himself is a millionaire and I've got absolutely no issue with that but prime ministers, even if he wasn't, generally go on to become very rich afterwards - that's certainly been the case of the last three, four prime ministers.'
The Mail used the Freedom of Information Act to ask all departments how much they had paid civil servants in bonuses for the past two years. Figures were released by seven ministries.
They showed that staff at the Government Equalities Office, the Department for International-Development, and the Welsh Office saw the value of their packages more than double.
At the Foreign Office the amount soared by 18 per cent. Only the Department for Work and Pensions, the Department of Communities and Local Government, and the Department of Health saw their bonuses fall.
The survey suggests that this tax year bonuses to civil servants will exceed the £129million paid between 2008 and 2009.
The Foreign Office paid out by far the most in bonuses with a pot of £9.1million in 2009-10, up from £7.7million the year before, a rise of 18 per cent. This works out at an average of almost £1,250 each for the 7,303 who got the bonuses.
The Equalities Office paid out £58,850, up from £28,400, a rise of 107 per cent. Of this, £19,000 was allocated for staff who have 'excelled in a particular area of work' - although 30 members of the discrimination law team were given £100 for the apparently everyday task of helping to process the controversial Equality Act through Parliament.
At the Welsh Office, the value of bonuses rose from £6,000 to £15,900.
The Department of Communities and Local Government paid out less than the year before, £1.1million compared to £1.2million. However, the amount staff received went up from an average of £1,911 to £2,024.
The Department for International Development showered bonuses across the ministry, even giving 13 security guards employed by private contractor ISS Pegasus £500 each.
In total DfID paid out £634,150 to senior civil servants, down from £641,510, with the largest single payment being £15,000 and the average payment £7,357.
However, for the first time the department rewarded middle-ranking civil servants with a new bonus which amounted to £742,515. In total the department paid out £1.3million - a rise of 103 per cent.
The Department for Work and Pensions paid out £21.81million, down from £23.32million the year before.
The Department of Health paid out £2,367,000 in bonuses for 1,017 staff, down from £2,605,000 the year before.
Last night the Equalities Office said its bonuses were for staff 'receiving an achieved or excelled mark in their annual reports'. The Foreign Office said it 'targets money at those who make the biggest contribution' while DfID said it always took into account the difficulty of workers' tasks when deciding payouts.
The survey does not include some of the biggest bonus-paying departments. The Ministry of Defence gave out £53million in 2008/9 and will reportedly increase that by another £6million for the year just gone.
Matthew Elliott, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: 'It is small wonder that the public finances are in such an awful mess if people were getting record bonuses despite all the things going wrong.
'It is unbelievable that any minister could have thought it appropriate to hand out wads of cash at a time when the economy and the public finances were in a dire state.'
The PM and his new ministers have already cut their own pay by 5 per cent
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