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BBC 'must lead the way' on equal pay

From BBC - September 15, 2017

Culture Secretary Karen Bradley has said the BBC must "lead the way" on equal pay and diversity, both on and off-screen.

In July, the BBC published the salaries of its best-paid on-air talent for the first time.

But there was dismay among some that it did not include fees paid by BBC Studios, the BBC's main TV production arm, which makes many programmes.

Mrs Bradley told the BBC it "should be at the forefront of pay transparency".

Chris Evans topped the list with a salary of between 2.2m and 2.25m in 2016/2017, while Claudia Winkleman was the highest-paid female presenter, earning between 450,000 and 500,000.

BBC Studios became a commercial subsidiary in April and makes shows like Doctor Who, EastEnders and Strictly Come Dancing.

Speaking to the Royal Television Society (RTS) convention in Cambridge, Mrs Bradley said: "There has been some debate about how far the BBC should be expected to go on pay transparency.

"The chairman of the Culture select committee is eager to extend pay data as far as independent production companies, which the industry - including the BBC - currently feels would be excessive.

"However, while I recognise the BBC's concerns, I must say that I sympathise with the principle that the BBC should be at the forefront of pay transparency, and we expect them to lead the way."

During a later question and answer session, she said she was not going beyond the BBC charter and salaries paid through BBC Studios would not be disclosed.

A BBC spokesman said: "We welcome the secretary of state's confirmation that the charter agreement stands and that talent paid by independent production companies or BBC Studios will not be disclosed for good commercial reasons.

'Not a loophole'

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