The BBC has reduced the amount it spends on top tier talent earning more than £500,000 by more than £2m in total.
Following the departure of big stars, like Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, the number of people earning between £500,000 and £5m fell from nine in 2014/15 to seven in the most recent financial year.
Speaking to MP’s yesterday (28 June), the broadcaster’s general director Lord Hall said that since 2014 the BBC has brought the overall spend on talent down by £8m in total “on an apples for apples basis,” while cuts in the upper-most pay bracket (£500,000 to £5m) were subject to a spending reduction of 25 per cent.
Overall, the BBC's talent spend for the most recent financial year clocked in at just £200m, down from £208.5 the previous year.
The BBC’s current policy prevents it from identifying its top-earning stars, but the introduction of the government’s BBC White Paper in May will see it name any on-screen stars who earn more than Hall himself who is paid £450,000 each year.
Hall said the cuts to a-list salaries are evidence that the current anonymous system was working well.
“At the moment we band what we are spending on talent and it absolutely focuses us on what we are spending and we are getting results out of that," he noted.
“We are concerned if we begin to publish names alongside all these things it becomes a poachers’ charter, we want to make sure from the point of view of licence fee payers we are getting the talent they want to see on screen and on the airwaves.”