PwC and law firm Eversheds will conduct an audit of the BBC’s pay policies, particularly looking at the gender pay gap
PwC and law firm Eversheds will conduct an audit of the BBC’s pay policies, particularly looking at the gender pay gap, the BBC’s director-general Tony Hall said in a speech to staff in Hull.
The public broadcaster came under fire earlier this summer when it published the salaries of its top-earning stars and revealed huge pay disparities – with only a third of their on-screen presenters earning over £150,000 being women.
The highest earning male star was Chris Evans, who netted around £2.2m in 2016, and by comparison the highest earning female star was Claudia Winkelman, who earned under £500,000.
To quell the indignation, Hall is now taking visible, decisive action, and outlined reviews into pay that have been commissioned by the BBC.
The first is a report on the gender pay gap, which will be independently audited. Hall noted the causes of this disparity are “structural and societal” but that the BBC is determined to close the gap.
Second is an independent audit of equal pay covering UK-based staff to be carried out by PwC and Eversheds “using tried and trusted methods from the Equality and Human Rights Commission.”
Hall stated the reviews aim to ensure “where there are differences in pay, they’re justified. If it throws up issues, we’ll deal with them immediately.”
Following the publication of salary information, 40 women working at the BBC penned an open letter to Tony Hall criticising the fact that “women at the BBC are being paid less than men for the same work.”
“You have said that you will “sort” the gender pay gap by 2020, but the BBC has known about the pay disparity for years. We all want to go on the record to call upon you to act now”, the letter continued.
A BBC source told the Telegraph: “Tony and the executive team are keen to do something pretty big and dramatic. It’s going to be open, transparent and independent.”
In a response to BBC women Hall penned a letter accepting that more needs to be done to rectify the disparity, but noted that “provisional figures show that the pay gap is 10% against a national average of over 18%.”
The BBC have recently been plagued by salary issues in many forms. PwC is already working with the broadcaster to audit the pay disparity between the BBC World Service and the BBC News division that was uncovered earlier this year.
Furthermore, The Daily Mirror recently reported that the BBC were under pressure from HMRC to tax their highest-paid staff as employees rather than self-employed. Currently the broadcaster’s biggest stars have their salaries routed through personal service companies and only pay 20% corporate tax rate. This change in policy would make them liable to pay the 45% PAYE rate.
A BBC spokesperson told the paper: “The government’s new rules apply to all public bodies including the BBC and Channel 4. We are making sure we comply with the law and licence fee payers don’t pick up the liability for the wrong tax or NI contributions being paid.”
Earlier this year the BBC announced that the National Audit Office would become their external auditors for the financial year 2017-2018, taking over from EY.