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BBC's top earners 'should be named'

The names of the BBC's top-earning stars should be made public where possible, chairman of the BBC Trust Sir Michael Lyons said.

Outlining plans to slash pay, he called for greater transparency and said every pound the BBC takes from licence fee-payers must be shown to have been spent well.

But Sir Michael, who is also BBC chairman, said that did not mean the salaries of individuals would be made public.

In a speech to a Voice of the Listener and Viewer seminar in London, Sir Michael said the number of people in each of the top pay bands should be made public but not who those individuals were.

He said narrower pay bands recommended by the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee should be used to give a better idea of how many people earned higher salaries.

"This will significantly increase the degree of transparency in this area," he said.

"The information will generally be presented in aggregate - that is, anonymously. However, I do believe we should release the names of those who receive the biggest incomes from the BBC."

According to figures released earlier this year, the corporation spends £54 million on its top-earning stars.

These are reported to include Jonathan Ross, Graham Norton, Jeremy Paxman and Fiona Bruce.

The broadcaster, which came under fire for Ross's £6 million-a-year deal, pays director-general Mark Thompson £664,000 a year.

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