Society and Culture

Publication of BBC salaries calls into question their role as a broadcaster


Labour Market

Reaction to the Supreme Court's ruling on employment tribunal fees

Reaction to the publication of BBC pay

Commenting on the publication of the BBC’s top stars’ salaries, Mark Littlewood, Director General at the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:

“The publication of the BBC’s top stars’ salaries is a welcome step towards creating transparency between public services and the taxpayers who fund them – particularly while the licence fee is compulsory. Furthermore, these revelations should help cut down the wasteful spending within the corporation. At the moment the BBC is trying to be all things to all people and licence fee payers are the ones picking up the bill. At least now the public will know what they are getting for their money.

“Some have called the publishing of pay potentially ‘damaging’ for the BBC; on the contrary, it should be a wake-up call. Strictly speaking, as a public service broadcaster the BBC should only be providing content that other broadcasters are not providing.

“If the BBC is indeed paying ‘market rates’ to celebrity presenters by dishing out salaries in the realms of £1 or £2 million a year, then it should also be competing in the market with other broadcasters in every other respect. No comedy or cooking show should be protected from market evaluation because it has the taxpayer to fall back on. 

“Let’s be hopeful that this transparency will trigger more sensible management of funds and efficient use of licence fee payers’ money.”

Notes to editors:
For media enquiries please contact Nerissa Chesterfield, Communications Officer: 020 7799 8920 or 07791 390 268

In 2016 the IEA published ‘In Focus: The case for privatising the BBC’. To download this report please click here.

The mission of the Institute of Economic Affairs is to improve understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society by analysing and expounding the role of markets in solving economic and social problems and seeks to provide analysis in order to improve the public understanding of economics.

The IEA is a registered educational charity and independent of all political parties.