Today presenter Justin Webb has said there is a “wider fairness issue” regarding BBC talent pay as he questioned why his radio co-presenter Nick Robinson earns £100,000 more than him “essentially to do the same job”.
Webb made the comments as he and Robinson appeared on stage together at the Times and Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival, which ended on the weekend, to celebrate Today’s 60th anniversary this year.
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Webb earns up to £200,000 a year, according to figures for top-earning on-air talent at the corporation released earlier this year, compared to Robinson’s £300,000 a year.
Their colleague John Humphries earns up to £650,000 a year, making him the second-highest paid journalist at the BBC behind Jeremy Vine, while fellow presenter Mishal Husain earns up to £250,000 a year.
Webb’s comments come after the BBC revealed that among staff at the corporation, women are paid 9.3 per cent less than men on average (when comparing the middle salaries of both genders), but no “no systemic discrimination against women” in its pay arrangements.
A review into BBC on-air talent and senior manager pay is expected later this year.
Webb said the BBC women “have a genuine grievance, there’s no question about it, and in a sense that is the most serious”, according to the Telegraph.
But he added: “There is also a wider fairness issue. Nick is paid £100,000 or so a year more than me essentially to do the same job. Does that affect our relationship with each other?”
Although the exchange between the pair was reportedly light-hearted, Robinson later added: “I think Justin is absolutely right in saying that what’s taken everybody by surprise is the degree to which this is not just about money.
“It really isn’t. It’s about respect, status and worth. That’s why it’s so serious and why rightly it is being taken seriously.”