BBC stars employed by private companies ‘should reveal their pay’

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Broadcaster says it has no control over what private companies pay their talent.

Private production companies commissioned to make programmes for the the BBC should be forced to reveal the pay of their presenters and actors, a senior Tory MP has said.

Dozens of performers, including TV personality David Dimbleby, were not included of the top-pay list released last month, because their programmes were made by independent companies.

However, the salaries of those employed directly by the public broadcaster were forced to reveal their salaries, sparking outrage over the gender pay gap.

Now, Damian Collins, Conservative chairman of the culture, media and and sport committee, called for all talent in shows broadcast on the BBC to be revealed.

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“What would be unacceptable is if next year, BBC Studios turned round and said all these people are being paid on Strictly, we are now not going to disclose their salaries because we are now an indie [independent] and we don’t have to,” Mr Collins told The Times.

The corporation responded by saying they had no control over what private companies paid their talent. The Government does not currently require independent companies to disclose who receives the highest levels of pay.

The number excluded from the BBC’s high-pay list is set to grow next year, as the broadcaster becomes increasingly reliant on commercial companies including BBC studios, which will take control of Strictly Come Dancing, EastEnders and Casualty.

The highest-paid female presenter on the first list realeased in July was Strictly presenter Claudia Winkleman, who earned between £450,000 and £500,000 last year.

The list – published in the corporations’ annual report – revealed that two-thirds of its stars earning more than £150,000 were male.

Nicola Sturgeon on Friday called for the BBC to close the gender pay gap faster than by the 2020 deadline set by director general Tony Hall.

No other media company publishes the pay of its stars it is difficult to compare the BBC pay rate, and the gender gap, with the market.

In response to Mr Collins’s statements, a BBC spokesman said: “BBC Studios is a fully commercial business and not underpinned by public money.

“Equally independent production companies are private businesses. We are buying programmes from them, not talent. Programmes can be funded from multiple sources and the BBC is often only one of many investors.”

They added: “The decision on what’s paid to the talent rests with the independent producers, not the BBC. All this was agreed as part of the BBC Royal Charter which exists for 11 years.”

Credits/Original Post: Independent

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