The UK government’s department for culture, media, and sport has sought greater transparency regarding the pay of BBC employees who earn a greater salary than the Prime Minister.
The recommendations form part of a statement released yesterday following the May publication of a white paper on the broadcaster.
The report states that the BBC has made ‘real progress in limiting the salaries of senior BBC executives and ‘talent’, and in providing a degree of transparency as to the number of people whose pay exceeds certain levels.’
The earlier white paper proposed that the BBC should identify which of its employees earn more than the director general’s salary of £450,000. However, in the recent statement MPs have agreed that ‘In a world of agents and widespread online gossip, we do not accept that this level of confidentiality is necessary to retain talent, and we are very conscious of the fact that the BBC’s performers, like management, are ultimately remunerated by the licence fee payer.’ The BBC has argued that publishing salary details could lead to talent being poached by higher-paying broadcasters.
The government report continues: ‘We therefore recommend the same threshold for both: that total remuneration in excess of the Prime Minister’s should be published.’ This would mean the BBC revealing details of any employees who earn above £143,000.
In response, a BBC statement said it has “led the way in transparency by publishing details of senior manager salaries over £150,000”.
It continued: “We cut our bill for talent pay by £8m last year, but creating a poacher’s charter by publishing the salaries of individual presenters and actors wouldn’t be in the interests of licence fee payers who say they want the best talent on the BBC.”