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The BBC was engulfed in a huge gender pay gap storm today after it emerged that the top-paid male star raked in more than four times the salary of the highest-earning woman.
Chris Evans was paid between £2.2 million and £2,249,999 during 2016/17 for his work for the Corporation, which included Top Gear and Radio 2.
The bumper sum far exceeded the £450,000 to £499,999 for Claudia Winkleman, of Strictly Come Dancing, who also works on radio. Six other men also received pay above Winkleman’s.
They included Match Of The Day presenter Gary Lineker, on between £1.75 million and £1,799,999, and chat show host and radio presenter Graham Norton, on £850,000 to £899,999.
Today BBC director-general Tony Hall said it needed to go “further and faster on issues of gender and diversity”.
BBC Breakfast host Naga Munchetty was paid between £150,000 and £199,999 but co-presenter Dan Walker took home between £200,000 and £249,999.
Radio 4 Today show presenter Mishal Husain’s pay packet of £200,000 to £249,999 was dwarfed by that of her co-host John Humphrys, who also presents Mastermind.
He earned between £600,000 and £649,999.
Labour MP Jess Phillips, who sat on the women and equalities committee, said: “There is clearly a fundamental problem in how women are valued by the Corporation. It’s difficult to see how this wasn’t picked up sooner.”
Some of the BBC’s highest-earning BAME talent are among the casts of primetime shows including Casualty and EastEnders — but even here white men top the charts for high-earners.
On-screen sisters Tameka Empson and Diane Parish earn between £150,000 and £199,999 for their roles in EastEnders while Holby City’s Hugh Quarshie is in the same pay band.
But EastEnders’ highest-earners are Danny Dyer, who plays Queen Vic landlord Mick Carter, and the ever-present Adam Woodyatt. Both earned between £200,000 and £249,999.
Among the other “multi-genre” BBC presenters on large salaries were Jeremy Vine, of quiz show Eggheads, on £700,000 to £749,999, BBC News anchor Huw Edwards on £550,000 to £599,999, and Radio 2’s Steve Wright on £500,000 to £549,999.
The BBC annual report and accounts for 2016/17 also showed the overall wage and salary bill at the Corporation rising above £1 billion, with a blackhole in its pension scheme of similar size.
The BBC has been forced by the Government to publish the salaries of all of its top talent paid at least £150,000, which is as much as the Prime Minister.
Overall, about two thirds of the 96 top-earners were men, sparking the gender pay gap row.
Men working on the same programme as women also were often paid more. Among the Strictly judges, Darcey Bussell was on between £150,000 and £199,999, while Len Goodman received between £200,000 and £249,999, as did Bruno Tonioli.
Craig Revel Horwood had the same pay as Bussell.
Tennis legend John McEnroe, a presenter and commentator on the BBC’s Wimbledon team, was paid £150,000 to £199,999 but Martina Navratilova did not make the list.
On the Today programme, Nick Robinson on £250,000 to £299,999 and Justin Webb was on £150,000 to £199,999.
Eddie Mair, who presents PM, was on between £300,000 and £349,999, while little-known Radio 5 Live and Northern Irish broadcaster Stephen Nolan is in the same £50,000 pay bracket as Andrew Marr on £400,000 to £449,999.
Match Of The Day pundit Alan Shearer received £400,000 to £449,999 while Gabby Logan got £200,000 to £249,999.
BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg was paid £200,000 to £249,999. Victoria Derbyshire, who hosts her own morning show, got £200,000 to £249,999.
Among the main BBC news presenters, Fiona Bruce, also host of Antiques Roadshow, was on £350,000 to £399,999, and Sophie Raworth on £150,000 and £199,999.
A Question Of Sport host Sue Barker’s salary was £300,000 to £349,999, while Clare Balding got £150,000 to £199,999.
Lord Hall pledged to close the gender salary divide by 2020 and emphasised that it was about 10 per cent, compared with a reported nationwide figure of 18 per cent. He said: “We want all our lead and presenting roles to be equally divided by men and women.
“I want to achieve right balance when it comes to BAME talent too. Here, we have a similarly tough target — 15 per cent by 2020.
“And, again that’s having an impact — with nearly 20 per cent of the leading talent we’ve hired or promoted in the last few years from BAME backgrounds.”
He added: “Comparing people’s pay is not straightforward. Very few do precisely the same thing — people working at the same show may have other — or different – commitments.
“Of the top talent who are on the list [who] we have hired or promoted in the last three years, more than 60 per cent are women.”
Damian Collins, chairman of the Commons culture, media and sport committee, said: “Many licence fee-payers will be concerned about the disparity between the number of high-earners that are men, as opposed to the number of senior women that earn over £150,000.”
Lord Hall, who earns from £450,000 to £499,999, fears that being forced to publish the list could lead to salary “inflation” and talent being poached.
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