BBC brass to take salary cuts

Pubcaster also says it will reveal more about talent payment

LONDON -- BBC bosses have elected to take an 8.3% salary cut during the next two years as part of an austerity program sweeping through the government-owned broadcaster.

The move will affect BBC director general Mark Thompson, the management board of his senior executives and all members of the pubcaster's oversight committee, the BBC Trust.

The move was announced by BBC Trust chairman Michael Lyons in a speech Wednesday night.

In another major break with tradition, Lyons said that the pubcaster would reveal more details about talent payments and would name its highest earning onscreen stars. Lower-fee talent payments will be published in a banding system which will initially be anonymous.

Last year the BBC said it would cut its senior executive salary bill by 25% over three years, and cut a significant number of positions altogether.

But pressure on the public sector body was ramped up last week, when the new Conservative government warned that it aimed to make swinging cuts to almost all Britain's government-run services in order to cut Britain's national debt.

Earlier this week BBC finance director Zarin Patel disclosed a £2 billion hole in the BBC's pension fund and said that its terms would have to be made less generous in order to claw back the deficit.

"It's right that the Trust and Executive Board show leadership and recognize the climate in which we are operating," Lyons told audience lobby group the Voice of the Listener And Viewer.

"Not just for the license-fee-paying public, but also for BBC staff who have had consecutive years of very limited pay increases and bonus freezes, and who will be affected by the BBC pension reforms announced yesterday as well as other tax increases revealed in last week's emergency budget," he added.
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