BBC staff shouldn’t be paid more than the Prime Minister except in exceptional circumstances, the new Culture Secretary has declared.
Newly promoted Matt Hancock said the corporation “missed a chance” to bring in pay cap rules and that most shouldn’t get more than £150,000 that Theresa May gets for running the country.
He told ITV’s Peston on Sunday that the Prime Minister’s pay is seen as a “guide at the top”.
He added: “Across the rest of the public sector we’ve brought in rules to say that except in exceptional circumstances, people who are paid for by taxpayers’ money shouldn’t be paid more than the Prime Minister.
“I think that they missed a chance to bring in that kind of rule when we brought it in for the rest of the public sector a few years ago.”
And he said that organisations like the beeb, which is funded by the taxpayer, should think carefully about how much they pay their stars.
“In a country around the world, where people are paid for by the taxpayer, who should we be paying the most to? Is it the BBC editor, or is it the ambassador?”
Pressure has been mounting on the BBC to address their gender pay gap after China editor Carrie Gracie quit last week in a furious row over her pay.
She stood down after 30 years at the BBC and returned to working in the newsroom where she was confident she would be paid the same as her male counterparts.
Radio 4 host Mr Humphreys and US editor John Sopel were slammed by bosses last week for joking about the issue just before going on air.
Humphrys says: “And I could save you the trouble as I could volunteer that I’ve handed over already more than you f***ing earn but I’m still left with more than anybody else and that seems to me to be entirely just — something like that would do it?”
It comes months after a report exposed a huge gender pay within its most high-profile BBC journalists and presenters.
It was revealed that the highest-paid man at the BBC was Radio 2 presenter Chris Evans on more than £2million a year, while the best-paid woman, Strictly’s Claudia Winkleman, got between £450,000 and £499,999.
Mr Hancock said he would raise the option of slashing pay for BBC big wigs like John Humphreys, who is on £600,000 per a year, when he meets him next.
He said: “We will certainly be discussing this topic.”