Page last updated at 11:16 GMT, Thursday, 11 June 2009 12:16 UK

BBC stars are warned on salaries

Bruce Forsyth and Jonathan Ross
Stars like Bruce Forsyth and Jonathan Ross can expect their pay to be cut

BBC stars have been warned to expect their salaries to be slashed as part of the corporation's plan to save money.

Stars including Bruce Forsyth and Sir Terry Wogan were told at a regular briefing meeting about plans to reduce pay when contracts are renewed.

The BBC is already making efficiency savings of £1.9bn and needs to find a further £400m of "painful" cuts.

A BBC spokesman said: "No organisation is immune from the economic climate and we have to find substantial savings."

In March, the BBC Trust - the corporation's governing body - signed off plans to cut the salaries of big name stars and agreed that executive pay should also be frozen as part of the savings plans.

No information was given as to how much reduction would be made to salaries.

'Huge challenge'

"This week's reception was to thank presenters for the huge contribution they make, and to share information on some of the future issues facing the BBC," the spokesman said.

"The BBC has a huge challenge to deliver its efficiency savings totalling £1.9bn over the licence fee period.

"Because of the recession we also now have to find a further £400m of painful cuts, which is why we have implemented an 18-month pay and bonus freeze for senior managers, alongside other measures.

Talent costs can't be immune from the efficiency savings and these will be reflected in our ongoing negotiations," he added.

Last June a review commissioned by the BBC Trust found that some BBC presenters were not receiving salaries above the market rate.

The report said in some cases stars were getting paid less than they would receive elsewhere, and added that the top 30 to 40 stars across all TV and radio each earned more than £1m a year.

But it said the BBC should "walk away" from stars who are too expensive.

The review was commissioned after some salary details were leaked to the press, including a three-year deal for Jonathan Ross reportedly worth £18m.

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