EVERY YORKSHIRE pensioner due to lose their free TV licence from next year has even more reason to be aggrieved after the BBC released details of the eyewatering salaries paid to its so-called ‘stars’.
There will be incredulity, despite promises of pay restraint, that Match of the Day presenter Gary Linker is still paid around £1.75m a year for presenting football highlights on the BBC.
And it is not as if the Corporation is paying for exclusivity – Mr Lineker still has the commercial freedom to present Champions League matches on rival network BT Sport when not promoting Walkers crisps.
He is not alone – Graham Norton’s £600,000 salary for a presenting role on Radio 2 excludes his chat show. Yet, while he is talented, he is not in Sir Michael Parkinson’s league.
And so it goes on. Even former Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans is still on the list, with around £1.25 million, as he only quit his Breakfast Show in December.
Yet, while the BBC will point to the fact that three women – Zoe Ball, Vanessa Feltz and Claudia Winkleman – feature amongst its highest 10 earners for the first time after the gender pay scandal emerged, this defence is risible.
Some of the salaries paid to pundits and presenters, who might just appear once or twice a week, reveal how the BBC elite have lost touch with reality – and all those OAPs for whom the television might be the only voice they hear each day.
If it can’t make the necessary efficiencies in order to fund free TV licences for the over-75s, the next Prime Minister should take immediate action while, at the same time, coming up with a straightforward system where wealthier OAPs can still make a financial contribution to the BBC if they so choose.