Report reveals pay hike for BBC director general and chairman

Author: By Vicky Shaw, Press Association

Director-general Mark Thompson’s total remuneration increased by 2% in
2008/09, from £816,000 the previous year to £834,000.

Total pay for executive directors went down from £4.96 million last year to
£4.601 million – a 7% decrease.

BBC chairman Sir Michael Lyons’s total remuneration increased by £50,000, from
£163,000 in 2007/08 to £213,000 in 2008/09.

Within this year’s figure, his “taxable benefits” doubled over the last year
from £35,000 to £70,000.

Sir Michael was appointed chairman in May 2007, so his fees for the 2007/08
period did not quite cover the full year.

Total remuneration figures for the BBC Trust, of which Sir Michael is chair,
increased from £642,000 in 2007/08 to £677,000 in 2008/09.

The BBC is making efficiency savings of £1.9 billion over the licence fee
period and it has said it has to find a further £400 million of “painful”
cuts.

Mr Thompson and Sir Michael defended the figures, Mr Thompson pointing out
that he has waived his right to be considered for bonuses.

He has not taken a bonus for each of the five years in the job, explaining why
total remuneration went down for other directors, who took a bonus last year
but have been subject to a freeze this year.

Bonuses for the corporation’s 10 most senior executives are being waived
indefinitely.

In today’s Financial Times, Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw criticised BBC
bosses for creating “almost a feeling of despair” among staff by opposing
plans to “top slice” the licence fee, which would pay for public service
programmes on non-BBC channels.

Sir Michael said it was “surprising that a secretary of state who has just
started a public consultation exercise should give the impression that he
has already made his mind up so firmly.”

Sir Michael said he had focused on the interests of those who paid the licence
fee.

He said there was a risk of damaging accountability and the independence of
the BBC as well of a risk of a higher licence fee in future.

Asked for Gordon Brown’s response to the Culture Secretary’s comments, the
Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “Ben Bradshaw is clear that he views the
BBC as a unique and high-quality broadcaster. Ben Bradshaw is a champion of
the BBC and is fully committed to its future.

“The specific issue in relation to the BBC that came out of the Digital
Britain report was ‘How do we ensure the future of local and regional news?’

“We know this is something that is much valued by the public and we have put
forward our proposals as to how we think the future of regional news can be
secured by using a small fraction of the license fee.

“We were always clear that, if other people have other proposals, of course we
will look at those, but we are not aware of any such realistic proposals
being put forward.”

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