Presenter Steph McGovern clarifies comments about “posh” people earning more at the BBC

The Middlesbrough-born reporter had said that the BBC had a problem with class

Steph McGovern, BBC Breakfast (BBC, EH)

Presenter Steph McGovern has clarified her comments concerning equal pay at the BBC.

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The BBC Breakfast, Watchdog and Shop Well for Less presenter had said she would be paid more if she were “posher”.

“Throughout my career I’ve had to argue about [pay],” McGovern told the Sunday Times. “It’s not as simple as a gender issue, it’s partly down to class. There are a lot of women who do a similar job to me who are paid a hell of a lot more . . . who are a lot posher than me.”

In the interview, Middlesbrough-born McGovern also said that in the national discussion about pay equality, “we concentrate too much on ethnic diversity and not enough on class”.

“It’s dead important to represent loads of different cultures,” she said. “But what the BBC doesn’t do enough of is thinking about getting people from more working-class backgrounds. It’s just posh.”

McGovern said she had recently received a pay rise amidst the row over gender pay at the corporation and had “just now” reached a six-figure salary.

After her comments made headlines in the British press, McGovern tweeted on Sunday night to clarify her points.

McGovern wrote: “I was asked to do an interview with the education editor at the Sunday Times about my work with Young Enterprise; a charity helping young people learn about business which I have been heavily involved with for many years.

“Towards the end of the interview I was asked about BBC pay and culture,” she wrote. “I said I thought that the issue wasn’t just about gender, but also about class.

“I also said that we talk a lot in the BBC about how to be better at ethnic diversity, which is important because we’re not good enough at it. However we never talk about class and I suggested that if we did it would make us more diverse in lots of ways, including ethnicity.

“I am in a very fortunate position; I love my job and never dreamed I would have such an amazing career and salary. I grew up in Middlesbrough, a town that is often portrayed in a negative light, but one I love.

“I want the people I grew up with and everyone from a place deemed as ‘poor’ to know that they should never be held back from achieving the best in life and they should be proud of where they’re from. That’s it.”

A BBC spokesperson said more than 80 per cent of the BBC’s workforce was educated in state schools and the BBC is “more diverse than it has ever been”.

The statement added: “The BBC has a clear commitment to finding and developing new talent.

“We offer hundreds of apprenticeships to ensure the BBC is open to people from all backgrounds and a range of programmes to help people develop their career once they’ve joined.

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“But there’s always more to do and we have an ambitious diversity strategy which sets out our commitment to fully reflecting and representing the whole of the UK.”