Friday, November 13, 2009

BBC splurges the funds compulsorily extracted from the average Briton

After a long resistance, the BBC publishes top execs' pay and expenses -- and they are huge. 37 BBC staff earn more than the Prime Minister

DETAILS of the salaries and expenses of more than 100 of the British Broadcasting Corporation's top executives have been published online. The revelations, which the BBC has called a "step change in openness", follow a scandal earlier this year over parliamentary expenses. It fuelled pressure for disclosure of financial details of publicly-funded bodies.

According to the pay details of 107 BBC "decision-makers'', published online on Thursday, BBC director general Mark Thompson receives a salary of £664,000 and a total annual pay package of £834,000 ($US1.38 million, $A1.48 million).

The BBC, which is often attacked by rival British commercial media, published the salaries of its 50 best-paid managers in June, and said its executives claimed over £350,000 in expenses between 2004-2009.

But the newly-released figures give details of nearly 3,000 separate expense claims, which were immediately trawled over by British media for questionable details.

Jay Hunt, controller of the main BBC1 television channel who is £272,800 pounds per year, claimed nearly £30 for a bottle of spirits and almost £90 for flowers.
Despite his large salary, Thompson himself claimed 70p for parking on seven separate occasions, alongside claims for everything from business class air tickets, flowers, hotel refreshments and restaurant bills.

BBC creative director Alan Yentob claimed £3,211.70 for a return flight to New York in June, and incurred £674.19 in taxi fares in April alone, the figures showed.

Radio 1 controller Andy Parfitt, who is paid a total of £218,800 claimed nearly 550 pounds for equipment for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro for Comic Relief, an annual charity event.

But there did not appear to be anything approaching the eye-popping revelations from the parliamentary expenses scandal before the summer, such as duck houses, moat cleaning and extensive second home expenses.

The BBC said it was simply being transparent. "Today's quarterly disclosure is a significant move for the BBC in our continued commitment to achieving ever greater openness and transparency to the public who pay for the BBC,'' said BBC chief operating officer Caroline Thomson.

She said the publication "is a direct response to the public, who have indicated that they would like more information about how the BBC is run in a way which marks a step change in openness, simplicity and accountability''. "We are meeting the spirit as well as the letter of the law.''

The BBC has also been rocked by a series of other scandals in recent years, including rigged competitions, a misrepresented row involving Queen Elizabeth II and, more seriously, with the government over the 2003 Iraq war.

SOURCE. See also here

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