Dyke defends £1m of bonuses paid to chiefs

Dyke: received £97,000 bonus

BBC director general Greg Dyke defended the £1m in bonuses and perks awarded to senior executives as journalists voiced fears that programme quality could suffer.

Figures published in this year’s annual report showed that Dyke received a performance-related bonus last year of £97,000 on top of his £357,000 annual salary.

This year journalists were barred from the presentation of the annual report. But BBC governors did not get off the hook when they went before the cross-party media committee and were quizzed over salaries and bonuses given to the 21 top executives.

Labour MP Derek Wyatt challenged Dyke to justify why nine executives were paid more than the Prime Minister.

But Dyke defended the payments, claiming if they were not adequate the BBC risked losing its senior executives to the commercial broadcasters.

"The people who run the BBC are outstanding people and have ready access to jobs in the media," Dyke said. "The people concerned could do a heck of a lot better if they moved."

The payments have been criticised by journalists who recently rejected a 2.8 per cent pay offer that threatened the £4,000 unpredictability allowance.

"At the top level, wages predictably go up in leaps and bounds while for the rest of us our wages and allowances are unpredictable," one source said.

NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear, who was at the hearing, told Press Gazette there were also concerns about programming. "We welcome the fact that more money is being put into programming but are concerned that at the same time executives have received more than £1.2m," he said. "At a time when there’s an increasing demand to cut costs and improve efficiency we have concerns that this could be at the expense of quality." The governors warned programme makers in their report to "check material thoroughly and to be aware of their responsibilities to behave fairly and edit legitimately". This report coincided with diamond company Oryx this week claiming victory in its libel action over being falsely linked to the Al-Qaida terrorist network on the Ten O’Clock News.

Geoffrey White, deputy managing director of Oryx, said: "The BBC never had a shred of evidence for its broadcast. Our reputation suffered and we sustained enormous financial damage. The BBC will now have to compensate us."

But the BBC said, although it had conceded some legal points, it would be contesting the size of Oryx’s damages claim in court in January.

 

By David Rose and Julie Tomlin

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