BBC should reveal star salaries says culture minister

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Culture minister Ed Vaizey wants more transparency over BBC stars' salaries

The BBC should reveal the salaries of its highest-paid stars, according to culture minister Ed Vaizey.

The corporation has already published the pay of its most senior executives on the internet.

At a debate on the future of the BBC at Westminster Hall in central London on Tuesday, Mr Vaizey agreed the corporation should continue to be funded through the licence fee.

But he said he "would like to see greater transparency on salaries".

Mr Vaizey said executives should also publish details of outside work carried out by its broadcasters, such as shows for other channels and magazine columns.

"I think viewers have a right to know what additional earnings people who work for the BBC are gaining and whether or not there is a potential conflict of interest," he said.

At the same event, Mr Vaizey welcomed the decision to cut the salary for the BBC's director general following the appointment of George Entwistle.

"The issue of salaries is a vexed issue which constantly exercises members of this House," he said. "There is no doubt that they will continue to be debated."

While some executives' salaries "do cause concern", Mr Vaizey added, it should be acknowledged that the BBC director general pay packet had come down "very considerably" over the years.

"I think we should recognise that the new BBC director general will be paid something like a third less than his predecessor," he said.

"That is still a lot of money by anybody's standards," the culture minister continued.

"But I think we should recognise that this is a man who will be running an organisation of some 22,000 people, with an income of £3.5 billion a year."