Saturday 21 April 2018

BBC promises pay review as female stars demand action by end of year

Claudia Winkleman is the BBC’s highest-paid female star on £450,000-£500,000
Claudia Winkleman is the BBC’s highest-paid female star on £450,000-£500,000

The BBC is reviewing pay after it was forced to reveal that male stars were paid far more than their female counterparts.

The revelation in July that its best-paid male star earned five times more than the best-paid woman, and that two-thirds of on-air high earners were men, led to internal strife and critical headlines.

Presenter Chris Evans topped the list of highest-paid stars on between £2.2m and £2.25m in 2016/2017, with Gary Lineker in the £1,750,000-£1,799,999 bracket.

Claudia Winkleman, was the highest-paid female star on £450,000-£500,000. She and Alex Jones, on more than £400,000 were the only two women in the Top 10.

"These are difficult and often deep-rooted challenges, and they are not unique to the BBC, but I see this as a moment of real opportunity for us," Director General Tony Hall said in a speech yesterday.

Mr Hall said the BBC had commissioned a report on its gender pay gap, to be independently audited, and had launched an audit of equal pay covering UK-based staff, which was being carried out by the law firm Eversheds and auditors PwC. "If it throws up issues, we'll deal with them immediately," said Mr Hall, adding both reports would be published.

The BBC had initially responded to outrage by pledging to close the gender gap by 2020, but that failed to satisfy irate women employees. "The director general must be in no doubt about how serious an issue equal and fair pay is for women across the organisation," said a group including high-profile TV and radio presenters.

"The BBC should be the standard-bearer for this in the media," they said in a statement, calling for solutions to rectify injustices to be put in place before the end of 2017. (Reuters)

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