Today's Justin Webb: Broadcasters should be paid salaries that 'keep them on the side of the people'

BBC Radio 4 presenter Justin Webb has said that news broadcasters’ salaries should “keep them on the side of the people”.

His comments come in wake of the White Paper unveiled by Culture Secretary John Whittingdale last week, which outlines the future of the BBC.

Among the measures announced by Whittingdale is a requirement for the BBC to publish names of stars and executives earning more than £450,000 a year.

Writing in the Radio Times, Webb said: “Yes, I understand the special concern about the BBC, since the salaries come straight from licence payers.

“That is – literally and metaphorically – a matter to be decided above my pay grade. But perhaps it’s more important that all news broadcasters – on commercial stations as well – should be paid in a manner that keeps them on the side of the people.”

Referring to a list that was published on the website Heatstreet, claiming to reveal the salaries of numerous high earners, he said his daughter had quizzed him comically after his name appeared on the list.

“My daughter is outraged at the suggestion that I might earn more than the Prime Minister, who is paid £143,462,” he wrote. “She has read my name on a list on the internet (do they not have bike sheds to smoke behind in modern schools?) and is quizzing me on the way home: ‘But you don’t do anything’.”

The Today programme presenter also said he wanted to thank “whoever it was who put me on that list”, adding: “If I had a few bob and the time to spare I might approach a top lawyer and make a claim that my human rights have been abused.”

He ended his column with the observation that he had not been included in a more recent list, joking: “My instinct is to be worried. But I suspect it’s for the greater good.”

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