Belfast Telegraph

We still don't know Nolan's full earnings from the Beeb, says DUP MP

By Staff Reporters

The public are still in the dark about just how much presenter Stephen Nolan is paid by the BBC, a senior DUP politician warned last night.

Mr Nolan was revealed yesterday to be one of the BBC's top earners across the UK, with a salary of between £400,000 and £449,999 a year.

The BBC was forced by Government to reveal the pay of all stars earning over £150,000. Mr Nolan was the only BBC Northern Ireland figure in the published list, and was in joint 10th place overall.

Chris Evans was in top spot with between £2.2m and £2.25m a year, followed by Gary Lineker on £1,750,000-£1,799,999.

Mr Nolan's published pay package covers his three presenting roles: his weekday morning shows on BBC Radio Ulster, four late-night programmes per week on BBC 5 Live and 18 Nolan Live TV programmes a year.

But the figure does not include payments to Mr Nolan's independent broadcasting company for making documentaries and other TV programmes for the BBC. DUP MP Gregory Campbell last night said questions remained unanswered and revealed plans for a Parliamentary debate on BBC transparency.

"I welcome this publication as a first step but it is only a first step. We also need to know how much public money Stephen Nolan is receiving through his private limited companies, some of which fulfil contracts to the BBC," he said.

The additional payments were also highlighted in a tweet by a former BBC news boss yesterday.

Reacting to a post about Mr Nolan's salary, ex-head of BBC NI TV news, Angelina Fusco, tweeted that "those salaries don't take into account all the extra programmes BBC commissions from the talents' individual production firms".

Mr Campbell commented: "It is incredibly significant that a former head of news at BBC NI has pointed to BBC NI's commissioning process, and the public money presenters such as Stephen Nolan receive through those commissions.

"It would be outrageous if this route is being used a back-door channel to become, in effect, 'salary top ups'."

The DUP MP continued: "There is concern within our independent media production sector that the BBC NI commissioning process is not rigorous enough when BBC employees' companies receive highly lucrative commissions for programmes.

"I have asked a series of questions of Mr Nolan's companies and BBC NI about this matter over several months. So far the answers have been arrogant at best and evasive at worst.

"I have already requested and secured a parliamentary debate in the autumn on BBC transparency. I will be using this debate to outline a number of concerns, including the BBC's commissioning process."

A BBC spokesperson last night said: "The Government has said we only need to disclose payments made to individuals directly from the licence fee.

"Some well-known names on the BBC are on programmes made by independent production companies. We pay a fee to the company for the delivery of the programmes.

"The decision on what to pay the talent and the contractual obligations rests with the independent producers rather than the BBC."

Meanwhile, the head of the Community Relations Council has said he's more concerned about the content of Stephen Nolan programmes than the presenter's earnings.

As news broke about the salary, Council chair Peter Osborne tweeted: "It's not the cost of Stephen Nolan I'm worried about, it's the cost to community relations of some of the programme content and tone."

Mr Nolan was given a lively interview by BBC Radio Ulster colleague Seamus McKee yesterday evening, during which he challenged Mr McKee to reveal his pay.

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