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Tories attack "insultingly" high BBC salaries

Picture 3 After getting its teeth into MPs' pay and allowances for much of the year, the Daily Telegraph today splashes on just how much the top BBC executives get in salaries and expenses.

As the paper reports:

"Figures released by the corporation disclosed the top 100 are paid an average of £199,316 – comfortably exceeding the Prime Minister’s £194,250 salary. With bonuses and other entitlements, the executives’ average package is more than £214,000 a year – almost 10 times the average British salary. But the same senior staff also claimed £175,000 in expenses in just the first three months of the financial year. The disclosure promoted fury from MPs whose own expense claims have been subjected to intensive criticism on the corporation's news outlets."

The paper notes a number of spurious expense claims, such as the Radio 1 controller who used licence fee payers' money to buy equipment for a charity mountain climb and how the corporation's Chief Operating Officer ran up a £4,000 taxi bill in just three months.

Shadow Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt - who has previously voiced opposition to top BBC executives being paid more than the Prime Minister - responded by saying:

“Many at the BBC are on salaries as low as £14,000 and will be insulted to hear that whilst they earn low wages and work at the BBC for the privilege, their bosses are taking home bumper pay packages.”

He also called for more openness and transparency from the corporation:

“It can’t stop here. We must see a full breakdown of what the BBC pays their celebrity talent. It is licence fee payers' money and full transparency is a must.”

The Times also leads on the story, honing in on the fact that at least 37 BBC executives are paid more than the Prime Minister, and pointing out that the BBC's claims to be the nation's most transparent public body are also undermined by its failure to publish the details of hundred of salaries in excess of £100,000.

Jonathan Isaby


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