Belfast Telegraph

DUP MP Campbell says publication of BBC stars' salaries a 'step forward' but 'still a long way to go'

DUP MP Gregory Campbell has said the publication of BBC stars' salaries is a "step forward" but there is "still a long way to go".

The figures have revealed that Stephen Nolan makes more than £400,000, while Radio 2's Chris Evans is the top earner pulling in more than £2 million. Mr Nolan is the highest paid on air talent earner within the regional organisation, and joint 9th highest paid overall.

Mr Campbell has had repeated on-air run-ins with Stephen Nolan over the secrecy that surrounded BBC presenter pay.

Mr Nolan fronts shows on BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Five Live, working seven days a week.

He also presents the Nolan Live TV show on BBC1 Northern Ireland.

Responding to the figures Mr Campbell said "we know some of the facts, but not all of them".

Mr Campbell said: "The details published today are the salaries paid for work directly as a BBC employee but the public still do not know how much of their money has gone to many of the same ‘stars’ or other individuals through independent production companies.

"The BBC is paid for by the public, through a compulsory charge under threat of criminal prosecution, It is charged if you watch any broadcast television, regardless of whether that is on the BBC or not. If you don’t like the content on other media outlets you can switch off or cancel your subscription. Whilst you can switch the channel away from the BBC, you don’t have the option to cancel your television licence fee payment.

"That is what makes it different to other media outlets, and it is one of the reasons that comparisons between the pay of BBC employees in some fields and their counterparts elsewhere are not the full story.

"For an actor in a BBC soap opera there will be an equivalent programme on a commercial outlet. On occasions there is no commercial equivalent to many BBC programmes, and therefore no commercial equivalent to the ‘stars’ of those shows.

"A similar programme on a commercial outlet may also look the same, but does the presenter on that commercial show have the same backroom team as the BBC?

"Do they have the same resources available to them? How many producers, editors, researchers and other backroom staff are working on the commercial “equivalent” of any BBC show? The answer in nearly every case is that a presenter on any other broadcast outlet has far fewer resources available than their BBC counterpart."

Mr Campbell again questioned the timing of the announcement which came just one day before the House of Commons goes into summer recess.

The broadcaster previously dismissed the accusations as him talking "nonsense".

He added: "Ultimately, today’s publication is a step forward for the BBC, but it is by no means the end of the road. When we know the full details of how much public money is going to its highest paid stars we will be much closer to that goal.”

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