BBC foreign editors should not earn more than British ambassadors says new

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first_imgJon Sopel, the BBC’s North America editor, earns £200,000-£249,999 per year. Sir Kim Darroch, Britain ambassador to the US, earns £180,000-£184,999. Matt Hancock Among the few big names on staff, rather than a short-term contract, is Huw Edwards. The BBC is said to have asked him to take a cut, but he is under no obligation to agree.Speaking in the Commons, Mr Hancock said the BBC must set “appropriate levels of pay in an organisation funded by licence fee payers”.He told MPs: “All of these jobs are in public service, and when you are in the service of the public, restraint is necessary.”Men working for the BBC earn an average of 9.3 per cent more than its women. Lord Hall has said this puts the corporation in “a better place” than other organisations, as the UK average is 18 per cent. But Mr Hancock said: “The defence that they as an organisation are better than others and better than the average is, frankly, not good enough – not just because everybody should be doing better, but because the BBC should be held to a higher standard because they are a treasured national institution and our national broadcaster.”A BBC spokesman said: “We have great respect for the diplomatic service but the BBC is an international broadcaster and while we can’t match the salaries offered by some of our rivals, it is media companies we have to compete against for talent.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Matt Hancock answered questions in the Commons on his first day as Culture SecretaryCredit:PAcenter_img Carrie Gracie The BBC must bring down the pay of its top journalists, the new Culture Secretary has said, arguing that it is unacceptable for the corporation’s foreign editors to earn more than British ambassadors to the same countries.On his first day in the job, Matt Hancock waded into the BBC pay row and said the public service broadcaster should be held to a higher standard than other organisations.“This isn’t just a matter of levelling women’s pay – it is a matter of equality. Working for the BBC is public service, and a great privilege, yet some men at the BBC are paid far more than other equivalent public servants,” Mr Hancock said.“The BBC has begun to act and I welcome that, but more action – much more action – is needed, especially when BBC foreign editors can earn more than Her Majesty’s ambassadors in the same jurisdiction.”His intervention came as Lord Hall of Birkenhead, the BBC director-general, was asked to appear before a Commons select committee alongside Carrie Gracie, who this week resigned as China editor after discovering she is paid at least 50 per cent less than her male counterparts. Carrie Gracie has resigned as China editor in protest at unequal payCredit:Dominic Lipinski/PA Gracie earns £135,000 per year – more than Dame Barbara Woodward, ambassador to China, whose salary is £120,000-£124,999.Asked if some of the BBC’s high salaries are “impossible to defend”, Mr Hancock replied: “Absolutely spot on.”He also called for the BBC to close the gender pay gap before the 2020 deadline set by Lord Hall. It is understood that a significant number of male presenters have already accepted lower pay deals since the summer as their contracts have come up for renewal, when salaries of £150,000 or over were made public at the government’s insistence.One high-earning star said: “Every male I know is having their pay moved down, unless they are on staff.”last_img

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