Today presenter John Humphrys has offered to take a third voluntary pay cut at the BBC
Veteran Today presenter John Humphrys has offered to take a third voluntary pay cut at the BBC amid ongoing controversy about the gender pay gap.
If agreed with his bosses, it means his Today salary will drop to £250,000-£300,000 putting him on almost the same level as his younger, female colleague Mishal Husain, even though he has worked at the BBC for more than five decades.
The extraordinary gesture by Humphrys follows two previous pay cuts taken in the past year. I can reveal these amounted to £120,000.
Last summer it was disclosed that Humphrys was paid between £600,000 and £649,000 for presenting Radio 4’s Today and BBC2’s Mastermind. He has hosted the quiz programme — which he once described as ‘money for old rope’ — since 2003.
It is thought he gets around £200,000 a year for Mastermind so his total pay cut could be up to £200,000.
If agreed with his bosses, it means his Today salary will drop to £250,000-£300,000
His Today co-presenter Sarah Montague publicly criticised the ‘unfair’and ‘professionally damaging’ pay disparities between the show’s presenters after last year’s figures revealed that she earned less than £150,000.
A senior BBC editor tells me Humphrys is ‘setting a moral example for the whole of the BBC’.
A source adds: ‘He has done it because he regards himself fundamentally as a journalist, a hack, and he thinks the future of the BBC is under threat when people like him are paid such huge salaries.
‘He would like some extra money to go to the lowest-paid producers who are the real unsung stars of the BBC.’
The pay cut will be putting him on almost the same level as his younger, female colleague Mishal Husain (left). Earlier this month he is said to have infuriated staff with his leaked remarks on Carrie Grace’s (right) resignation
Humphrys, who turns 75 this year, has been at Today since 1987.
He gets into the office shortly after 4am before going on air at 6am.
Earlier this month he is said to have infuriated staff with his leaked remarks on the gender pay gap.
In comments made to Jon Sopel, Humphrys teased the BBC’s North America editor about Carrie Gracie’s resignation as China editor over unequal pay, asking: ‘How much of your salary are you prepared to hand over to Carrie Gracie to keep her?’
Humphrys joked; ‘I’ve handed over more than you f***ing earn, but I’m still left with more than anybody else and that seems to be entirely just.’
Let’s hope Humphrys manages to get by on his shrinking pay packet. His attractive new girlfriend, Sarah Sainsbury, is daughter of supermarket billionaire Lord Sainsbury, which might help sweeten the pill. Sarah, 21 years his junior, is divorced from Robert Butler-Sloss, son of the baroness and judge Elizabeth.
‘It’s true I’ve been talking to the bosses about taking another cut,’ confirms Humphrys. ‘We haven’t mentioned any figures. I volunteered. That seems to be entirely fair and reasonable.’
Who’d have imagined Today could become a new template for the public service on restrained salaries?