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Last Updated: Friday, 7 July 2006, 15:47 GMT 16:47 UK
BBC bosses enjoy big pay boosts
BBC director general Mark Thompson (left) and chairman Michael Grade
Director general Mark Thompson (left) with chairman Michael Grade
BBC executives have been awarded significant pay increases, the corporation's annual report has said.

The revelations come amid job cuts at the corporation, with unions warning that staff could strike as a result.

Director general Mark Thompson's salary rose to 609,000 in 2005-6, with his deputy Mark Byford receiving 403,000.

Mr Thompson waived his right to a bonus but his colleagues did not. The BBC said the pay rises were required to bring salaries up to market levels.

Mr Thompson's pay packet was 459,000 in 2004-5 - although that sum was not for a full year - while Mr Byford's basic wage rose 52,000 this year.

Director of television Jana Bennett saw her basic pay increase from 255,000 to 321,000, while director of radio and music Jenny Abramsky was paid 295,000, up 62,000.

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The news could result in a ballot for strike action, broadcasting unions said.

"It's outrageous that in a year when they have made 3,000 staff redundant, executives have been given these astonishing, inflation-busting increases," said Luke Crawley, Bectu's BBC official.

"On Monday, it is likely our members will be insulted and will say: 'Let's ballot for action.'"

National Union of Journalists broadcasting officer Paul McLaughlin said: "Executives at the BBC are washing themselves in a Jacuzzi of cash while staff suffer a drought."

'Tough year'

The corporation has made "significant savings" due to more than 1,000 posts closing this year, finance director Zarin Patel said.

More than 2,000 more staff will leave the BBC in the next financial year.

Mark Thompson said "it didn't feel right" that he should claim extra money, but added that he had encouraged his fellow executives to put themselves forward for bonuses.

Slade on Top of the Pops
Top of the Pops has been axed
"It's been a tough year for many of my colleagues at the BBC," he said.

The governors announced last year they would begin a two-year process to bring executive wages up to market levels.

"The governors believe the BBC's executive pay policy now properly reflects our combined duty to licence fee payers and our responsibility as employers," chairman Michael Grade said.

It puts the BBC's executive base pay at 4.5% above the market average, the annual report said.

But executives can now only claim up to 10% of their salaries as bonuses, compared with 30% under previous guidelines.

The annual report reveals the BBC's accounts for the previous financial year and sees the corporation's governors review the past year's successes and failures.

Repeats cut

The governors also said BBC One should cut back on repeats and improve the channel's early evening programmes.

By 2009, no more than 5% of prime-time programmes should be repeats, the governors said.

They also said the BBC should not be afraid to axe long-running programmes that are under-performing.

Earlier this year, the corporation announced the end of weekend sports programme Grandstand and long-running music show Top of the Pops.

Digital age

The report also showed that while radio was generally in rude health, BBC TV was facing strong competition from digital channels, with BBC One and BBC Two audiences falling slightly.

But digital channels BBC Three and BBC Four have increased their audience shares.

Overall audiences to BBC News have also dipped, with traditional bulletins attracting fewer viewers, with audiences for online and on-demand news growing.

The total audience share for BBC television and radio was down from 43.1% to 42.7%.


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