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New DG wants cuts

Ball tops BBC pay chart as Lineker takes cut

Top earner: Zoe Ball (pic: BBC)

The BBC will face further questions over the huge salaries paid to its presenters despite its top earner agreeing to a 23% pay cut.

The corporation revealed that Match of the Day host Gary Lineker has agreed a £400,000 cut to his annual £1.75m pay packet.

However, other on-screen talent continue to enjoy up to seven-figure earnings.

The former footballer has been replaced as top earner by Radio Two breakfast show presenter Zoe Ball whose £1m pay rise gives her a salary of £1.36m.

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It is understood the BBC has raised the pay of more than 700 female employees since the start of its equal pay scandal. 

During the same period, 608 women received a pay revision or increase through an informal pay enquiry, The Guardian reported.

However, the rise in pay to its highest profile presenters could reignite anger over the BBC’s decision to strip almost 4million over-75s of their free TV licences.

The BBC has insisted it cannot afford the concession for all pensioners and says only around 900,000 who receive Pension Credit would continue to get it.

Dennis Reed, of pensioners’ campaign group Silver Voices, told the Daily Mail: “This increase shows a warped sense of priorities by the BBC in a time of difficulty. 

“I would like to see them giving equal priority to poorer pensioners who struggle to pay their licence fee.”

Earlier this year Lineker called for the TV licence fee to be voluntary.

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The annual report shows there are two presenters earning more than £1million and 73 are paid between £150,000 and £500,000.

Spending on on-air roles represents 10% of total internal creative content – the same as the year before.

Tim Davie, the BBC’s new director-general, is committed to cutting the the corporation’s payroll.

The corporation increased senior leader headcount by three people to 253 for the year to 31 March, at a time when it is keen to trim its £37.5m wage-bill.

The number of those earning £150,000-£199,999 rose by 10, as those with salaries of £50,000-£99,999 fell by eight.

Mr Davie has expressed a desire to “dramatically reduce bureaucracy and meetings”.

He told a briefing on the report: “The reality is that the number of senior leaders shouldn’t be growing and we have too much duplication.

“I believe in senior leaders but we need to get the right number, who are truly accountable and delivering the right things.”

He admitted the BBC is extremely unlikely to meet the “very aggressive” senior leader targets of 15% BAME and 50% women, which were set by his predecessor Tony Hall in 2017.

Other top earners:

Lauren Laverne: Desert Island Discs presenter

Graham Norton takes about £725,000 for his Radio 2 show and some TV work, but not for his chat show.

Radio 2 DJ Steve Wright earns about £475,000.

Newsreader Huw Edwards is paid about £465,000.

Fiona Bruce takes home £450,000 for her work as a newsreader and presenter of Question Time and Antiques Roadshow.

Lauren Laverne, who presents Radio Four’s Desert Island Discs, had earnings of £395,000.

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