BBC should reveal salaries of stars earning more than prime minister, say MPs

The pressure is on to publish annual incomes of talent in excess of £143,000

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A new report from the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee puts the BBC under pressure to reveal the salaries of stars paid more than £143,000 a year – the amount earned by the British prime minister. 

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Currently, the Corporation publishes the salary details of executives who earn upwards of £150,000 per year, but not talent.

The demands come as part of a new era of openness under the next royal charter. The white paper published in May already laid out rules which would foce the BBC to publish the salaries of stars earning more than £450,000 per year – a list that is thought to include Graham Norton and Gary Lineker.

There is “no good reason” for performers, presenters and executives to “hide” their pay, stated the committee’s report on the white paper.

A BBC spokesman responded, saying that publishing the information could result in a “poacher’s charter” whereby rival commercial channels could use it to lure talent.

The statement continues: “The BBC has led the way in transparency by publishing details of senior manager salaries over £150,000, and already publishes more information about talent pay than other broadcasters.”

The Chair of the Committee, Mr Collins, retorted that all BBC employees should follow the same rules, and that industry people already have “secret knowledge” regarding how much talent are earning: “On the question of pay, the point is that all these salaries are paid by the licence fee payer, whether they are for broadcasters or BBC executives. 

“Why should there be different rules for each? It’s disingenuous to say confidentiality is needed to prevent poaching when in general everyone in the industry knows what everyone else is getting paid.

“The threshold should be the same for both executives and talent, the salary of anyone getting paid more than the prime minister should be published.”

Elsewhere in its report, the committee called for a separate Six O’Clock TV news for Scotland, which would be made in Scotland with a Scottish audience in mind.

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The BBC has been looking at the idea following concern that many so-called national stories relate only to England.