Friday 27 April 2018

BBC director-general asked to appear before MPs for grilling about gender pay gap row

Move comes after Carrie Grace (pictured) accuses BBC of unlawful salary discrimination

File photo dated 08/01/18 of Carrie Gracie, as the Equality and Human Rights Commission will write to the BBC over claims of unlawful pay discrimination made by the former China editor. The watchdog said it will request all relevant information from the corporation and then decide whether further action is required, following the row over Ms Gracie's claims. Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
File photo dated 08/01/18 of Carrie Gracie, as the Equality and Human Rights Commission will write to the BBC over claims of unlawful pay discrimination made by the former China editor. The watchdog said it will request all relevant information from the corporation and then decide whether further action is required, following the row over Ms Gracie's claims. Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

The director-general of the BBC has been asked to appear before MPs for a grilling about the gender pay gap row engulfing the corporation.

The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee extended the invitation to Tony Hall so it can question him over the broadcaster's progress in narrowing pay disparities since last year.

It comes after the BBC's former China editor took a dramatic stand on the issue - accusing her employer of unlawful salary discrimination.

Carrie Gracie said she learned last year that of the four international editors in the past four years at the corporation, two men had earned more than their female counterparts.

In response to the controversy, Damian Collins, chairman of the select committee, wrote on Twitter on Tuesday: "This morning @CommonsCMS has decided to invite the Director-General of the BBC to account for the actions of the BBC on gender pay since the publication of salaries last year.

"It is important to see what progress has been made and what more needs to be done."

It is understood the select committee met in private on Tuesday morning.

In the pay disclosure last year, North America editor Jon Sopel was listed as having a salary of between £200,000 and £249,999, while Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen earned between £150,000 and £199,999.

Europe editor Katya Adler did not make the list.

Ms Gracie said on Monday morning that she earned £135,000 as China editor, and was offered an increase of £45,000 when she complained about the discrepancy.

The long-time journalist said accepting the wage boost would have meant colluding in "unlawful pay discrimination".

The Equality and Human Rights Commission said it will write to the BBC over the claims, requesting all relevant information and then deciding if further action is required.

A BBC spokesman said on Tuesday morning: "As we have said the BBC was one of the first to publish a gender pay report showing we are significantly better than the national average.

"We have already published an independent judge-led equal pay report for rank and file staff, which showed no systemic discrimination.

"Also, a PwC-led report on presenter pay will be published shortly and people will be able to make informed judgments on that report and how we act on it."

Press Association

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