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SUNDAY 14 APRIL 2024

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Why should the struggling public foot the bill for BBC stars’ enormous salaries?

AS Fleet Street salaries wither on the vine in the wake of falling ad revenue and sales and the skimming off of any profits by boards and bonuses, BBC ‘journalism’ stars, paid for by the taxpayer, sail through the prevailing winds without so much as a touch on the tiller.


Good luck to them, we might say. There is little doubt they are popular. And good at their jobs too. Aren’t we all?


But the list of these gilt-edged luminaires grows yearly … Gary Lineker, salary/fees £1.4million; Zoe Ball: £1m; Alan Shearer £450,00; Hugh Edwards, Fiona Bruce, Vanessa Feltz, Scott Mills and Greg James £400,000; Naga Munchetty and Emily Maitlis (now with Global Radio) £350,000.


These are but a handful of people who join hundreds doing very nicely thank you as millions of families struggle with the cost of living. And who pays for them? The people struggling do of course with the dreaded broadcasting licence fee. They may never watch the BBC, but they have a TV in their living rooms. Nabbed.


No wonder certain stars can allegedly fork out sums up to £30,000 to cover-up their indiscretions, as reported. If that is true, that money from taxpayers would pay for a lot of free school dinners.


Now Auntie is down £59 million in revenue following the Government’s two-year licence freeze … it took in £3,741 million last year against
£3.8 million the previous year. Cutbacks are being made and heads begin to roll.


It happens as the BBC is facing a revolt from nearly three million viewers no longer willing to fork out £159 every year because they don’t watch the channels. So, they are not paying. After all, if you don’t like a newspaper, or can’t afford it, you don’t buy it.


But the BBC pays only lip service to moving towards the alternative … subscription to a streaming service, like Amazon Prime, Netflix and so on. Given its global brand reputation, history, and coverage of world events, it could perhaps easily become the biggest and most profitable network in the world.


Whoever wins the next election will have to tackle this broadcasting itch. When newspapers fail, journalists and other staff always suffer. But the Beeb is one organisation which may just roll on with a shabby compromise in Have and Have Not Britain today. And the Haves will still do very nicely, I suspect.


7th August 2023