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BBC refutes claims it will be forced to disclose stars' pay

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By Gillian West, Social media manager

May 7, 2016 | 2 min read

The BBC has dismissed claims it could be forced to disclose the salaries of its highest paid earners under a government proposal to "satisfy public intrigue".

Culture secretary, John Whittingdale, is reported to be unveiling the plans as part of a government white paper on the future of the BBC next week.

The Daily Telegraph revealed the plans were included as part of a draft version of the white paper and circulated among Whitehall officials. Speaking to the Guardian, a BBC spokesperson said that though the move may satisfy public intrigue it "does nothing to serve the genuine public interest."

According to its most recent account information, around 120 BBC TV and radio stars earn in excess of £150,000 a year, with nine salaries exceeding £500,000.

"We already publish more information than others in the industry about what we spend on talent, but revealing individual salaries would leave the BBC less able to attract the best talent, as well as potentially increasing costs and giving licence fee payers poorer value for money," the spokesperson added.

"Senior managers, not talent, are accountable for running the BBC and spending money wisely, and that's why their salaries are published if they earn over £150,000."

Graham Norton, Chris Evans and Gary Lineker are said to be among the BBC's top earners, with Norton reported to have earned £2.5m during the last financial year. Evans is said to be paid about £1.6m and Lineker £1.5m.

Compelling the BBC to reveal what it pays talent could, however, prove difficult as it would need to renegotiate existing freelance contracts and change new contracts to give the corporation permission to publicly publish pay details.

Additionally, stars, such as Norton, are not employed directly by the BBC, the Graham Norton Show is produced by So Television, a company set up by Norton and Graham Stuart that was bought by ITV Studios in 2012.

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