BBC staff criticise pay of top stars like Gary Lineker and Zoe Ball for giving corporation 'a bad name'

There is reportedly discontent among BBC staff over the ‘obscene’ salaries paid to the corporation’s star presenters in comparison to the wages that normal staff receive
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Some BBC staff believe that the salaries given to talent such as Zoe Ball “give the corporation a bad name” amid growing anger inside the Beeb.

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At-a-glance: 5 key points

BBC stars Huw Edwards, Zoe Ball and Gary Lineker are the top earners (Photos: Getty)BBC stars Huw Edwards, Zoe Ball and Gary Lineker are the top earners (Photos: Getty)
BBC stars Huw Edwards, Zoe Ball and Gary Lineker are the top earners (Photos: Getty)

- Sangita Myska, a Radio 4 presenter, took to Twitter to criticise Zoe Ball’s £980,000 salary, despite the DJ taking a pay-cut.

- In now-deleted tweets, she wrote: “Can you imagine earning so much that you can volunteer to take a £380,000 pay cut? I’m concerned that the differentials are so vast they give the public the wrong impression of what the vast majority of us earn. It gives the corporation a bad name. I’ve never been allowed to negotiate. Most staff I know get what they’re given.”

- Zoe Ball, Radio 2’s breakfast host, asked to reduce her pay by 28% to £980,000 to reflect the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

- Gary Lineker is still the BBC’s highest earning on-air talent with a salary of £1.36 million, despite last year agreeing to a pay reduction of around £400,000.

- A BBC News spokesman said: “The staff member has been reminded of the social media guidelines and responsibilities.”

Who are the BBC’s highest earners?

Gary Lineker £1,360,000-£1,364,999
Zoe Ball £1,130,000-£1,134,999
Steve Wright £465,000-£469,999
Huw Edwards £425,000-£429,999
Fiona Bruce £405,000-£409,999
Stephen Nolan £405,000-£409,999
Lauren Laverne £395,000-£399,999
Vanessa Feltz £390,000-£394,999
Alan Shearer £390,000-£394,999
Scott Mills £375,000-£379,999
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Since 2017, the BBC has been made to publish the names of those earning more than £150,000 each year, a move instigated by the Government.

But pay packets made through BBC Studios, the broadcaster’s commercial arm, are not revealed.

Director-general Tim Davie said in a statement: “The BBC has delivered outstanding content and value to audiences in extraordinary circumstances this year. I am proud of all we have achieved to inform, educate and entertain the Nation in record numbers during the pandemic.

“The BBC is responding to global competition and pressure on our finances. But, we know we must do much more to ensure licence fee payers across the UK get best value from the BBC, to maintain their trust and provide a service they cannot do without.

“I am absolutely focused on making the reforms we need to ensure the BBC is positioned to offer all audiences the best possible service well into the future.”

Conservative MP Julian Knight, chairman of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, said the BBC Studios pay figures being withheld meant the public were only getting “half the picture”

He said: “It’s welcome that some of the BBC’s top-earners have agreed to ‘significant reductions’ in their salaries this year. Yet despite taking a pay cut Gary Lineker is still earning £1.36 million.

“There remains a concerning lack of transparency because a number of top-earning stars are paid through BBC Studios and their salaries don’t appear here. Claudia Winkleman is one of those missing from this list despite her work for Radio 2 and presenting Strictly.