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09/06/2009

MPs Call For Scrutiny Of BBC Radio Stars' Pay Deals

A select committee of MPs has said that National Audit Office should be able to scrutinise the individual salaries of BBC radio staff, including top earners such as Chris Moyles, Jonathan Ross and Terry Wogan.
The public accounts committee said that the NAO could not properly examine the salaries of staff due to confidentiality agreements included in contracts.
The committee also drew attention to the fact that the BBC's breakfast and 'drivetime' shows, such as Terry Wogan's Wake Up To Wogan on Radio Two cost, on average, nearly twice as much as to produce as their commercial counterparts and attributed these large increase to the presenters' salaries.
Committee chairman Edward Leigh said that it was "disgraceful" that the BBC was able to "dictate" the information that the NAO had access to. He said: "The NAO has a statutory right to examine the details of expenditure in any government department. It has no such right of audit access to the BBC, despite the fact that the Corporation is funded with over £3 billion of public money each year.
"Very few will find acceptable any such constraints on the National Audit Office's ability to investigate how a publicly funded national institution spends our money."
The BBC Trust said that it had not disclosed details of presenters' salaries because of "legal obligations to staff" and believed that their approach was in line with both the Data Protection Act and information commissioner's guidance.
(KMcA/JM)
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