MPs fury as BBC 'hoses down' executives with lavish pay offs
Former DG George Entwistle received £45,000 to cover legal and PR costs on top of £450,000 pay-off
MPS TOOK the gloss off Tony Hall's appointment as the new BBC Director-General yesterday as they tore into the corporation for "hosing down" departed executives like George Entwistle with lavish compensation packages, paid for out of the licence fee.
The Public Accounts Committee, chaired by Margaret Hodge (above), expressed incredulity after it was revealed that the corporation has coughed up more than £4m to departing executives in the past two years.
"It does look as though losing a job at the BBC is the same as winning the lottery," commented Tory MP Guto Bebb.
BBC trustee Anthony Fry admitted to the committee that the severance package for Entwistle, who quit after just 54 days as DG in the wake of the Newsnight scandal, was worth more than the £450,000 the public already knew about. He revealed that Entwistle was also handed a further £45,000 to cover legal and PR costs.
The Daily Mail reports that the deal even included £10,000 to cover the cost of "legal advice to help him secure his pay-off". He was also given a further £25,000 for legal expenses connected to the two Jimmy Savile inquiries and £10,000 for PR help to deal with press interest in his departure.
His pension pot will also provide him with an income of £48,000 a year.
There was more anger when it emerged that chief operating officer Caroline Thomson received a £670,000 pay-off – more than twice her £330,000 salary – even though she wanted to leave the BBC anyway, after losing out to Entwistle in the race to become DG earlier this year.
And that was not all. "There were gasps from committee members when it emerged that 574 BBC bosses received private healthcare as part of their deals, worth in the region of £2 million in total," reports the Mail.
"For the MPs, it was sweet revenge," noted Andy McSmith in The Independent. "After all those months in which they endured accusations of having their collective noses in the trough, at last they could make someone else suffer."