W1A: BBC spends £33m on redundancies... staff headcount increases, wagebill rises above £1bn

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Chris Evans emerged as the BBC's highest-paid star today (Source: Getty)

The BBC’s staff wagebill rose above £1bn last year as the corporation’s headcount swelled – despite £33m being spent on redundancy payments.

The £1bn does not include the pay of all of the celebrities whose salaries were revealed for the first time yesterday, because many are not employed directly by the corporation.

According to the corporation’s annual report, salaries and wages across the corporation jumped from £990m in 2016 to £1.02bn in 2017.

The median earnings for a BBC employee rose two per cent during the year to £44,000.

And, despite making 539 severance payments worth £33.1m during 2016/17, the total number of BBC employees rose, from 21,265 to 21,271.

The headcount and wagebill figures relate to staff working across public service broadcasting, where 19,357 people work, BBC Worldwide and other commercial businesses.

A BBC spokesperson said: “This year we’ve made significant reductions in headcount through major savings initiatives, however there is a continued requirement to invest and recruit in different skill types to build the BBC of the future.

“We’ve brought in more apprentices and graduates, are staffing up an expanded World Service and ran a significant project to insource services which will deliver cost savings.”

The last time the BBC’s staff salaries and wages total surpassed £1bn was 2011.

For the first time yesterday, the BBC published pay details for its on-screen talent who earn more than £150,000.

DJ Chris Evans is the highest paid celebrity, earning more than £2.2m, ahead of Gary Lineker on more than £1.75m.

The fact that the highest-paid woman, Claudia Winkleman, was paid between £450,000 and £499,000 sparked controversy.

Prime Minister Theresa May told LBC: “I think what has happened today is we have seen the way the BBC is paying women less for doing the same job as the men.”

Read more: These are the 10 highest-earning BBC stars

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