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‘There’s no BBC gender pay gap’ says Radio 2 boss

If BBC Radio 2 pays its male DJs more than their female counterparts, it is because they are more talented, its boss has claimed. Lower salary: Radio 2’s Zoe Ball

If BBC Radio 2 pays its male DJs more than their female counterparts, it is because they are more talented, its boss has claimed.

In a bizarre interview, Lewis Carnie also insisted Chris Evans is well worth his £2.2million salary, and that there is ‘no gender pay issue’ at Radio 2 – despite clear evidence to the contrary.

‘At Radio 2, there is no gender pay gap. No one’s comparing like with like. That misleads the entire situation,’ Mr Carnie said in an interview.

‘On a per show basis, the pay gap doesn’t exist…We wouldn’t care what anybody is – gender, sexuality or ethnic origin – it’s totally irrelevant. What’s important is the talent, and they’re paid according to that.’

Six of the station’s nine biggest earners are men, including Mr Evans, Jeremy Vine on up to £750,000 and Steve Wright on up to £550,000.

Claudia Winkleman and Vanessa Feltz are the station’s biggest earning female stars, on £500,000 and £400,000 respectively. However, Miss Winkleman gets that money for her work on Strictly, rather than her Radio 2 show.

Meanwhile, the BBC has admitted that male staff earn 9.3 per cent more than women on average, and that the gap is considerably higher amongst its top-tier presenters.

Mr Carnie’s comments are likely to spark fresh anger amongst the BBC’s female staff, who are already furious at the yawning gap in pay for male and female presenters.

The broadcaster was forced to admit this summer that it has twice as many male presenters as female ones on £150,000 or more – and that many of the men are paid considerably more than their female co-hosts.

To make matters worse, furious staff singled out Radio 2 as one of the worst offenders. At the height of the controversy, Women’s Hour host Jane Garvey blasted Radio 2 on Twitter as ‘extraordinarily male and entirely pale’ with ‘big salaries’.

The station doesn’t have a single woman on air with a regular show from breakfast time until people get home from work. And even the female DJs it does have on air tend to be amongst the lowest paid.

Zoe Ball and Clare Balding take home up to £300,000 and £200,000 respectively, but none of the station’s other female DJs earn enough to make the BBC’s rich list.

None the less, Mr Carnie tried to claim yesterday that its female presenters are paid as much as or more than many of its male stars.

‘We have a lot of female talent – Zoe Ball, Sara Cox, Claudia Winkleman, Elaine Paige, Liza Tarbuck. They’re paid in line or higher than many of the male presenters,’ the BBC boss told the Evening Standard.

The BBC declined to comment on how his claim squares with the BBC’s disclosures earlier this year, saying it did not want to ‘respeak’ for Mr Carnie.

The Radio 2 boss also said: ‘Revealing everybody’s pay is one of the most unhelpful things that has ever happened

‘It’s a lose-lose situation. Because there’s no gender pay issue here at all, it really hasn’t helped us. I mean, what is the point of it? With the exception of Chris Evans, who has an extraordinary market value because other people are after him, everyone is kind of really in line.’

Asked whether Mr Evans was worth the money, Mr Carnie added: ‘As someone who brings nearly 10million listeners a week, yeah. He’s a phenomenal talent.’

The BBC said yesterday: ‘The BBC is conducting a review – including for Radio 2 – into the BBC’s approach to on-air presenters, editors and correspondents which will conclude by the end of the year.’

Earlier this week, a report on pay for rank and file BBC staff revealed that men at the corporation are paid an average of 9.3per cent more than women.

The BBC is due to publish a major report on pay for male and female presenters of all levels later this year.