£1.5m handed to BBC bosses for car allowances

Business Secretary Sajid Javid appearing on the Andrew Marr show on BBC One. PRESS ASSOCIATION photo
Business Secretary Sajid Javid appearing on the Andrew Marr show on BBC One. PRESS ASSOCIATION photo
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Senior managers at the BBC were handed more than £1.5 million of public money in car allowances in the last financial year, according to new figures released by the corporation.

Information released under the Freedom of Information Act, showed 327 people shared £1,678,207 in car allowances in the financial year to March 31.

That is down from the £2,026,680 paid out to 379 individuals the 12 months before. The scheme was ended in 2012 so senior staff hired since then do not receive the money.

A BBC spokesman said: “Car allowances were stopped three years ago for all new managers. This is reflected in the fact the cost and number of those eligible to receive it has fallen by over a third.”

Pay and perks for senior staff at the broadcaster have caused disquiet in recent years.

Last year, Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen said the bumper pay packets handed out to executives had caused “massive damage” to the corporation.

The journalist, one of the most familiar faces on the BBC’s news programmes, said the issue of high pay had given the corporation’s opponents “sticks and stones to chuck at us”.

Director-general Tony Hall introduced a cap on pay-offs of £150,000 when he took over following the furore over the £470,000 paid to his predecessor George Entwistle.

Mr Entwistle was paid a year’s salary when he left the BBC’s top job, even though he had only been in place for 54 days before resigning in the aftermath of the Jimmy Savile scandal.

Other senior figures who walked away with huge sums include former chief operating officer Caroline Thomson, who got £680,000, and deputy director general Mark Byford, who departed the BBC with a total payout of £949,000.

The post-election appointment of veteran Tory MP John Whittingdale as Culture Secretary has led to warnings in some reports that the Government is set to “go to war with the BBC”.

But his predecessor in the role, current Business Secretary Sajid Javid, put the fears down to “over-excitement” in the media.