Some of the BBC’s highest-earning male presenters could see their salaries slashed in order to reduce the corporation’s gender pay gap.
Yesterday a list of 96 BBC stars earning £150,000 a year or more was released. Just 34 were women, compared to 62 men.
Chris Evans is top of the list with annual earnings of £2.20-£2.25m, followed by Gary Lineker with a salary of £1.75m-£1.80m. Graham Norton places third with an annual salary of £850,000-£899,999 – though this figure doesn’t include earnings from his BBC One chat show, which is made by an independent production company.
The BBC’s highest-paid woman, Claudia Winkleman, earns between £450,000 and £499,999 a year, placing her equal seventh on the pay list. Speaking on Newsnight, the BBC’s director of radio and education James Purnell said: “Quite a lot of men have been taking pay cuts; John Humphrys said that today on air.”
He added: “I’m not going to start negotiating live on air, but that’s clearly one of the levers we can pull, and we have been doing that.”
Culture secretary Karen Bradley has said the publishing of the BBC’s high-earning stars list should have a “deflationary” effect on the salaries of its top male stars. The BBC’s director general, Lord Hall, has pledged to close the gender pay gap by 2020.