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BBC Women: ‘We do not believe that pay inequality is in the past’

The broadcaster has revealed its best-paid stars with women – Zoe Ball, Vanessa Feltz and Claudia Winkleman – making the top 10 for the first time.

Undated composite file photos of (left to right) Zoe Ball, Claudia Winkleman and Vanessa Feltz, who are among the top 10 highest-paid BBC stars in 2018/19, according to the corporation’s latest annual report (PA)
Undated composite file photos of (left to right) Zoe Ball, Claudia Winkleman and Vanessa Feltz, who are among the top 10 highest-paid BBC stars in 2018/19, according to the corporation’s latest annual report (PA)

Female broadcasters said they do not believe “that pay inequality is in the past” as the broadcaster unveiled a list of 20 top-earning stars featuring five women.

The broadcaster has revealed its best-paid stars with women, Zoe Ball, Vanessa Feltz and Claudia Winkleman, making the top 10 for the first time.

But Gary Lineker still tops the list and, unlike many male stars, the Match Of The Day presenter has not taken a pay cut, still pocketing around £1.75 million.

Former Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans is second, with around £1.25 million, the figure he received before he quit his Breakfast Show in December.

Graham Norton completes an all-male trio at the top, receiving around £610,000 for payments for his Radio 2 show and “a range of programmes and series”, not including his chat show.

BBC chief Lord Hall said the broadcaster had “turned the corner on gender pay”.

But in a statement posted by Today programme presenter Mishal Husain, the group BBC Women suggested it was too early to celebrate.

“There has been some progress in the last two years, but many women at all levels of the BBC are locked into slow, inefficient and demoralising internal processes,” they said.

“New equal pay cases are still emerging and staff are yet to have confidence that pay inequality is in the past.”

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(PA Graphics)

Lord Hall said that “in 2019/20 we expect 45% of our highest earners to be women, and 55% to be men. Three years ago just 25% were women”.

He said: “This is significant change. The task is not complete, we are not complacent, but we are well on our way.”

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Chris Evans is still on the list (Yui Mok/PA)

And he said of Lineker: “Every time contracts come up we look at them, we negotiate hard with people but Gary does do an excellent job.”

Many men, such as Today presenter John Humphrys (a fall of £110,000), Radio 2 presenter Jeremy Vine (a drop of around £150,000) and Radio 1 DJ Nick Grimshaw (by around £90,000), have taken pay cuts.

But some men, such as BBC Breakfast host Dan Walker (by around £60,000), Today presenters Justin Webb and Nick Robinson have had rises (£85,000 and £40,000 respectively).

And they are topped by TV and radio presenter Jason Mohammad who has pocketed a £95,000 increase.

The figures are the first salary disclosures since the BBC announced it will scrap the universal free TV licence for over-75s.

And they came after the BBC’s director-general said the public backs the broadcaster giving high salaries to “big stars” because they are “talented and entertaining”.

The total talent bill has gone up by almost £11 million to around £159 million while 75 people at the BBC now earn over £150,000, up from 64 last year, figures from the report show.

Radio 2 DJ and BBC presenter Jo Whiley has seen an increase in her salary, up around £100,000 on the previous year to around £270,000.

6 Music host Lauren Laverne’s salary goes up by £75,000, while Radio 4 Today programme presenters Martha Kearney (£45,000) and Husain (£35,000) have also seen their salaries increase.

Evans’s Breakfast Show replacement Ball is one of the women to make the top 10 for the first time, with around £370,000.

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Zoe Ball makes the top 10 for the first time (Yui Mok/PA)

The figure for her salary will rise next year as she only started her job in January.

Winkleman is now in the top 10, but she is in the list because some men have fallen out, not because her pay has gone up.

And her salary, of around £370,000, does not include payments for Strictly Come Dancing as the BBC has defied calls to publish salaries of those paid through BBC Studios, which is not funded by the licence fee and became a commercial entity.

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Claudia Winkleman is in the top 10 (Ian West/PA)

Feltz completes the list of three women in the top 10, with around £355,000 for work on Radio 2 and Radio London.

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(PA Graphics)

Men in the top 10 include TV newsreader Huw Edwards, who has taken a pay cut and is now on around £490,000 and fourth in the list.

Radio 1 breakfast show host Greg James is up around £55,000, while football pundit Alan Shearer has seen a rise of £30,000 to around £440,000.

DJ Steve Wright has also taken a cut and is on around £465,000 and in fifth place.

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Alan Shearer (Ian West/PA)

The BBC announced that free licences will be restricted to over-75s who claim pension credit from June 1 next year.

Stars such as Len Goodman and Dame Esther Rantzen have criticised the end of the universal payments, and many have urged the Government to commit to the funding.

PA

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