‘Bucket of cold sick!’ Lineker’s £1.36m salary shows BBC ‘can’t be trusted’, says activist

BBC licence fee: Over-75s have 'had enough' says campaigner

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And Rebecca Ryan, Defund the BBC’s Campaign Director, lamented the fact the news came at a time when pensioners throughout the country were being pursued for their £159-per-annum licence fees – with legal action an option. The BBC’s annual report for 2020/21 showed it had slashed 10 percent from its pay bill for top talent, after some of its biggest names agreed to salary cuts or quit.

However, despite taking a £400,000 paycut, former England striker Lineker – seen by millions last night during the coverage of Italy’s penalty shootout victory over Spain in the semi-finals of the European Championships – still trousers £1.36million a year.

Meanwhile, Naga Munchetty, presenter of BBC Breakfast, has seen her annual salary rocket by 30 percent, going up from the £195,000–£199,999 bracket to £255,000– £259,999.

People over the age of 75 were previously exempt from the licence fee – but rule changes mean only those in receipt of Pension Credit are excluded from the payment, with the grace period in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic expiring at the end of the month.

Ms Ryan told Express.co.uk: “The shocking revelation that Naga Munchetty, who openly mocked the Queen and Union Jack live on air, has been rewarded with a 30 percent pay increase, whilst many Britons don’t know if they’ll have a job to go back to has gone down like a bucket of cold sick.

“Meanwhile, crowing about Gary Lineker’s pay cut to £1.36 million for 60 days of work shows how thoroughly out of touch with licence fee payers chief executive Tim Davie is.

“As Michael Portillo said, ‘the BBC is clinging to the licence fee like a polar bear on a melting piece of ice’.

The BBC is still a deeply wasteful organisation that has refused to evolve with its competitors

Rebecca Ryan

“Reducing the salaries of a few top earners, because they dropped a show or two, won’t hold back the inevitable tsunami that is the death of live broadcast TV.

“Nor will it assuage the ever-growing sense in the country that the licence fee is outdated and unjust, and the BBC’s collection practices discriminatory, with women and the vulnerable disproportionately prosecuted.”

Ms Ryan said: “The BBC extracted over £250 million from elderly Britons during a pandemic and we’re expected to be impressed with a staffing cost reduction of £14 million?

“The BBC is still a deeply wasteful organisation that has refused to evolve with its competitors.”

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The corporation had shown on numerous occasions, most recently with the controversy surrounding the methods Martin Bashir used to secure his bombshell interview with Prince Diana, that it “cannot be trusted to mark its own homework”, Ms Ryan claimed.

She added: “It must therefore be moved into the private sector where it can be held accountable by willing customers, not propped up by reluctant and coerced Britons.”

Speaking yesterday, Tory MP Julian Knight, chairman of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (DCMS), said: “It’s welcome that some of the BBC’s top-earners have agreed to ‘significant reductions’ in their salaries this year. Yet despite taking a pay cut Gary Lineker is still earning £1.36 million.

“There remains a concerning lack of transparency because a number of top-earning stars are paid through BBC Studios and their salaries don’t appear here.

“Claudia Winkleman is one of those missing from this list despite her work for Radio 2 and presenting Strictly.”

Mr Knight said: “Without any indication of whether these earnings have gone up or down, licence fee-payers are only getting half the picture on whether they are getting value for money.

“It’s time for the BBC to commit to full transparency on its talent bill and drop the smoke and mirrors approach.”

The report covers the first six months of BBC director-general Tim Davie’s tenure.

He said: “The BBC has delivered outstanding content and value to audiences in extraordinary circumstances this year. I am proud of all we have achieved to inform, educate and entertain the Nation in record numbers during the pandemic.

“The BBC is responding to global competition and pressure on our finances.

“But, we know we must do much more to ensure licence fee payers across the UK get best value from the BBC, to maintain their trust and provide a service they cannot do without.

“I am absolutely focused on making the reforms we need to ensure the BBC is positioned to offer all audiences the best possible service well into the future.”

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