BBC to publish hourly rate of its star presenters salaries

The BBC is to detail how many hours its star presenters spend on air in return for their six-figure salaries, allowing the public to judge whether or not they provide value for money.

The BBC will list how many editions of the Today programme were presented by Sarah Montague and John Humphrys last year

The list of those earnings £150,000 or more will be published today, with presenters grouped in £10,000 bands.

It will detail how many editions of a show they worked on, effectively setting out their hourly rate.

A BBC source said: “We will be publishing the detail of the work individuals have done – which programmes they worked on and how many. This will help ensure that more informed comparisons can be made.”

However, the BBC’s insistence that it is being transparent over salaries is marred by the fact that the list is already out-of-date. It covers the financial year to April 2018, but many presenters have had pay increases or cuts in recent months. Their current salaries will not be disclosed for another year.

The BBC will hide current earnings in a separate table grouping presenters anonymously in £50,000 bands, rather than publishing individual salaries.

Around one-third of the stars who appeared on last year’s list will be absent because they salaries are paid via BBC Studios, which was spun off last year as a commercial entity. Strictly Come Dancing, Countryfile, Antiques Roadshow, Casualty and EastEnders all fall within the Studios remit.

In 2017, two-thirds of presenters earning £150,000 or more were men:

Insiders said there will be more women on the list this year and fewer men. Sarah Montague and Emily Maitlis are expected to appear for the first time, after their exclusion last year highlighted the corporation’s gender pay gap.

Some men are also thought to have received a pay boost, including Justin Webb, who until recently was the lowest paid member of the Today team. Although his salary last year was £150,000-199,999, a portion of that was for other BBC output. Sarah Montague’s Today salary was £133,000, and Webb earned less than her.

Webb later asked why another Today colleague, Nick Robinson, was “paid £100,000 or so a year more than me essentially to do the same job”.

The BBC’s famous names are braced for the fallout when their salaries are made public as part of the corporation’s annual report.

One household name said last week that the list amounts to “a National Trolling Festival where we all get pummelled over our salaries”, and said the £10,000 bands were “the latest humiliation”.

Lord Hall, the director-general, will today reaffirm his pledge to eliminate the gender pay gap by 2020. The gap has fallen from 9.3 per cent to 7.6 per cent in the past year.