ITV chairman says broadcaster will never reveal how much it pays its top talent

ITV will not follow the BBC in publishing the salary details of its stars – but expects to show an improvement on gender pay gap when it is forced to report figures next year

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The chairman of ITV has said that the broadcaster “would never discuss confidential contracts” of its stars and therefore will not be following the BBC’s disclosures, which the publicly-funded corporation was forced to make under the terms of its new charter.

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Sir Peter Bazalgette, the head of the UK’s biggest free-to-air commercial broadcaster, said: “We take gender issues, employment and pay very seriously as a company, but we are a commercial broadcaster.

“The BBC is funded with public money. We would never discuss confidential contracts for anyone working at ITV.”

The broadcaster expects to show an improvement on pay equality for male and female staff when it is forced to publish gender pay gap figures next year. Currently just two out of eight on its board are female.

From 2018, the government requires companies with more than 250 employees to reveal how much they are paying in salaries and bonuses to their male and female staff. The figures will be published in a league table ranking firms by their pay equality.

“Next April as required we will publish gender pay gap numbers,” Bazalgette said.

“That is something we monitor closely and we will be able to show a year-on-year improvement in those numbers. But in terms of specific contracts, confidential contracts, of talent behind and in front of the camera, that is not something we would ever reveal.” 

Last week, a huge row over the gender pay gap erupted after the BBC published a list of its stars who are paid more than £150,000 a year.

Chris Evans was named as the BBC’s highest-paid star, having made between £2.2m and £2.5m last year, more than four times as much as the highest-paid female celebrity, Claudia Winkleman. Two thirds of the talent who earned more than £150,000 in 2016 were male. 

On Sunday, more than 40 of the BBC’s top female stars wrote to Tony Hall, the director general, urging him to close the pay gap.

There is also a considerable earnings gap between white talent and BAME stars at the BBC, with the highest-paid – including Trevor Nelson and George Alagiah – earning between £250,000 and £300,00.

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Earlier this month, Channel 4 also said it would not be revealing the salaries of its top stars. While the broadcaster is state-owned, it is independently funded mostly through TV advertising.