Jonathan Ross

BBC told to reveal stars’ pay

BBC told to reveal stars’ pay

By staff

There was pressure on the BBC overnight to reveal the amount it pays its most famous radio stars after an influential committee of MPs described the secrecy surrounding their salaries as “highly unsatisfactory”.

The National Audit Office (NAO) has not been given access to individual salaries because it refused to sign a non-disclosure agreement, a move the BBC said represented its “legal obligations” to staff.

“The NAO has a statutory right to examine the details of expenditure in any government department,” said Edward Leigh, chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, which was responsible for today’s report.

“It has no such right of audit access to the BBC, despite the fact that the corporation is funded with over £3bn of public money each year,” he added.

“It is disgraceful that the NAO’s lack of statutory audit access to the BBC puts the corporation in the position to dictate what the spending watchdog can and cannot see.”

The NAO has previously estimated that about three quarters of the budget for drive-time and breakfast shows went on the presenters’ salaries.

The BBC argued that revealing salaries had the effect of driving up the fees demanded by stars.