The public-funded BBC was today told by a UK parliamentary committee to make public the names of its employees who are being paid more than the country’s Prime Minister.
House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee said there was no reason not to publish details of those who get more than 143,000 pounds a year, the British PM’s official salary package.
Currently, the BBC reveals the salary details only of executives who earn more than 150,000 pounds per year.
“The point is that all these salaries are paid by the license fee payer, whether they are for broadcasters or BBC executives,” said Damian Collins, the acting chair of the committee.
“Why should there be different rules for each? It’s disingenuous to say confidentiality is needed to prevent poaching when in general everyone in the industry knows what everyone else is getting paid.
“The threshold should be the same for both executives and talent, the salary of anyone getting paid more than the prime minister should be published,” he said.
The combined ministerial and parliamentary salary of the UK Prime Minister was 143,462 pounds in April 2016, which includes the parliamentary salary of 74,962 pounds.
The BBC has objected saying revealing the names would allow commercial broadcasters to poach its stars, which “wouldn’t be in the interests of license fee payers”.
A BBC spokesperson said: “The BBC has led the way in transparency by publishing details of senior manager salaries over 150,000 pounds, and already publishes more information about talent pay than other broadcasters.
“We cut our bill for talent pay by 8 million pounds last year, but creating a poacher’s charter by publishing the salaries of individual presenters and actors wouldn’t be in the interests of license fee payers who say they want the best talent on the BBC.”
A BBC statement added: “Ultimately our main aim is to provide the best news offer possible and that is why we’re exploring a number of possible formats.”
According to the broadcaster’s most recent report, its overall wage bill for talent was 200 million pounds.
Some 109 of its TV and radio stars were paid more than 150,000 pounds, while seven earned in excess of 450,000 pounds.
A spokesperson for the UK Department of Culture, Media and Sport said: “The committee’s report is a welcome contribution to the debate. We will study it in detail ahead of the publication of the draft Charter and Framework agreement.”
The review is part of a larger process in the lead up to December this year, when the BBC’s charter is up for renewal.