BBC Women group rejects review finding there was 'no bias' behind gender pay gap

A review into BBC pay levels has found a 6.8% pay gap between men and women but found there was "no evidence of gender bias in pay decision-making", the corporation has said.

The corporation has pledged action including "substantial" cuts to some male staff's salaries in the wake of the survey by accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers looking at pay among news staff.

But the BBC Women group said it has "no confidence" in the review, which they said had "no transparency" over its methods and failed to consult staff properly.

The group said that some women staff had also faced "veiled threats" while trying to broach the subject of equal pay at the news group.

A review into BBC news staff found a 6.8% gender pay gap. Credit: PA

The review of 824 BBC staff by PwC found there was a "lack of clarity and openness about the basis for pay decisions".

It found a 6.8 gap between median pay for men and women within the sample, lower than the 9.3% average across the corporation.

The BBC has pledged a range of responses including laying out a "single, consistent pay framework".

It is also set to cut pay for some top staff to allow other men and women to get rises.

There are also reports that news editors and correspondents may be subject to a £320,000 salary cap, though that has not been officially confirmed.

Presenter Jane Garvey suggested that a review funded by the BBC might not be objective. Credit: PA

However, the BBC women group - representing 170 staff at the company - said they had been excluded from the process and did not trust the findings.

"There's been no transparency on which individuals were included or why," they said in a statement.

"The BBC has chosen who to compare with whom, and what factors justify any gaps in pay."

Woman's Hour host Jane Garvey told The World At One: "Without being overly cynical, I might venture to suggest that PwC has delivered the report that the BBC asked for."

The BBC director-general Lord Hall is set to be questioned by MPs over the broadcaster's pay culture.

Asked whether more top on-air talent such as Chris Evans could face cuts, he replied the BBC would always "look at the value for money" in comments to The World At One on Radio 4.

The scandal was first triggered when the BBC was forced to publish salaries of its top talent, revealing a gap in pay between its highest earning men and women.

The broadcaster's China editor, Carrie Gracie, recently resigned in protest at pay inequality, while a report by a group representing women at the BBC said they have faced "veiled threats" while trying to raise the subject of pay.

Carrie Gracie resigned in protest over pay inequality at the BBC Credit: PA

Former BBC Scotland health correspondent Eleanor Bradford has also claimed she was paid "around £10,000" less than some of her male colleagues in similar roles, prompting her to leave the BBC after nearly 15 years.

Ms Bradford is the only person named in a list of 14 cases "of inequality of pay" at the BBC cited by the DCMS committee - the remaining 13 cases have been put forward anonymously.

Bradford, who was health correspondent between 2001-2016, said: "I discovered I was one of the lowest-paid correspondents at BBC Scotland, despite regularly appearing on UK wide news and delivering exclusive stories.

"I regularly asked for a pay rise, and eventually cited equal pay legislation. This led to an immediate increase of £5,000 but it was not backdated. I remained around £10,000 below some male colleagues who were doing identical correspondent jobs.

BBC director-general Lord Hall will be questioned by MPs over the broadcaster's pay culture. Credit: PA

In another of the cases, a TV news presenter, said: "It became apparent that for nearly three years I had been sitting next to a man doing an identical job who was being paid tens of thousands of pounds more.

"As we are both BBC staff that means I have not just missed out on pay, but on pensions contributions too. I am told that we are now being at the same rate per day, but there is no transparency."

A national radio presenter, who describes themselves as an "award-winning broadcaster with more than 20 years' experience", spoke about being offered the chance to host what they say is a "flagship arts programme" at the corporation.

The presenter claims they discovered that their male colleague was earning 50 percent more than them per programme, and that when they asked for equal pay their request was denied.

John Humphrys and some other BBC male presenters have agreed to take a pay cut Credit: PA

It emerged last week that a number of the BBC's leading male presenters had agreed to have their pay cut in the wake of the row, including Jeremy Vine, Nicky Campbell, John Humphrys, Nick Robinson and Huw Edwards.

The figures released in 2017 showed Vine was one of the corporation's highest paid stars, earning £700,000-£749,999; Humphrys, who presents the Radio 4 Today programme with Robinson, earned between £600,000 and £650,000 and BBC News presenter Edwards earned £550,000-£599,999.

Vine hosts a weekday show on Radio 2, as well as featuring in BBC News' election coverage, while Humphrys also presents Mastermind on BBC Two.

Veteran broadcaster Humphrys agreed to cut his salary to around £250,000 to £300,000, saying the BBC is now in a different position financially to its past.

Jon Sopel, BBC's North America editor, has also accepted a pay cut. The figures released last year showed he earned between £200,000-£249,999, while Gracie earned £135,000-a-year.

Radio 2's Chris Evans topped the 2017 list on more than £2 million, while the highest paid woman was Claudia Winkleman on between £450,000 and £499,999.