Andrew Neil describes BBC licence fee as a 'Straitjacket'
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The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has predicted that the public will be facing a more expensive licence fee next year as it is due to rise in line with inflation, going from £159 to £172. The news comes as the corporation’s top earner, Gary Lineker, sparked a row over the BBC’s impartiality rules which further ignited calls from Conservative MPs that the “regressive tax” should be scrapped. The overwhelming majority of Express.co.uk readers agreed, with 95 percent saying it should be scrapped. According to the corporation’s most recent annual report, the bill for on-air talent costs £129.8million. Here, Express.co.uk takes a look at which BBC pundits are raking in the big bucks.
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It will come as no surprise to many that the 62-year-old former England captain, who has dominated headlines as of late, is the BBC’s highest earner, making more than £1.35million between 2021 and last year, according to the corporation’s July report.
The Match of the Day host was paid slightly less than the previous financial year, during which he earned £1.75million.
Mr Lineker found himself at the heart of a BBC impartiality furore over the weekend. The presenter was taken off air for Tweeting criticism of home secretary Suella Braverman’s new small boats policy, comparing the language used to that commonly heard in Germany during the Thirties, when the Nazi Party was in office.
But after many came out in his support, Mr Lineker was reinstated, with Director General Tim Davie apologising for the affair. While shadow foreign secretary David Lammy slammed the BBC for “cowering to the populist whims of Tory politicians”, ex-Cabinet minister Jacob Rees-Mogg said the row brought up the future of the corporation’s funding, warning that the licence fee has “passed its sell-by date”.
He told GB News: “[Gary Lineker] can say what he likes. The issue is that the BBC is the state broadcaster and that it’s funded by a tax on televisions. If it weren’t, then we wouldn’t need to worry about its impartiality.”
The last financial year also saw the BBC Radio 2 breakfast show host take a pay cut, earning up to 984,999. The two years prior to that saw her earn more than £1.13million.
Last month, the 52-year-old said she fears for the future at BBC Radio 2 in the wake of Ken Bruce’s forced early exit from the broadcaster after presenting on the station for 31 years.
When talking with Mr Bruce’s breakfast show host successor, Vernon Kay, Ms Ball said she doubts whether she will still be on air in two years’ time.
Ms Ball, who was the first female to host both the BBC Radio 1 and Radio 2 Breakfast Shows, said on her show in late February: “I always think I’ll be lucky if I last an extra two years, let alone 31!”
The Match of the Day host did not quite rake in as much as his other colleagues, taking home a paycheck of up to £454,999. But the former England captain received a £60,000 bump in his salary compared to the previous year for his work on the corporation’s football shows.
The 52-year-old weighed in on the impartiality debate over the weekend as he, alongside Match of the Day regular Ian Wright, said he would not participate on Match of the Day following Lineker being taken off the air.
The veteran BBC Radio 2 DJ took home a similar salary as Alan Shearer, although, unlike the sports pundit, his salary has decreased by some £20,000 over the previous two years.
The Sunday Love Songs show host could find himself further down the BBC top-earners list when it is next released as he signed off from his famous afternoon show, Steve Wright in the Afternoons which ran for 23 years, in September.
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The Question Time host was the second highest-earning woman at the BBC last year, taking home up to £414,999.
Much like Lineker, the BBC One presenter has been criticised by the public over impartiality. Some took to social media to say that if Mr Lineker was to be suspended from Match of the Day, Ms Bruce should be examined for her “blatant bias” and “whipping up support” for the Conservatives.
An Express.co.uk poll, conducted this week, found that more than 70 percent of voters felt that she should be sacked by the BBC for impartiality.
Click this link to see the BBC’s other top earners.
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