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Richard North, 26/12/2012  


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Bringing the season of good will rather abruptly to an end, today we have the Telegraph detailing the huge payoffs given to departing BBC executives.

Between 2010 and 2011 the cost of redundancy payments at the corporation more than doubled to £58 million, says the paper. A total of 14 executives have been given payoffs of more than £300,000 each, worth a total of £6m, while 194 executives have been given £100,000 each. The biggest payoff was awarded to Mark Byford, the former director of journalism, who was given £949,000. 

Caroline Thompson, the former chief operating officer at the BBC, was given £670,000 when she left the corporation earlier this year. An unnamed finance officer was given a £420,000 payoff, while Sharon Baylay, the director of marketing, was given a £392,000 payoff.

Searching for a talking head to comment, the paper then finds Richard Bacon, a Conservative member of the Public Accounts Committee. He obligingly says that leaving the BBC for some is like "winning the lottery".

For a long time the BBC has been rather too fast and loose with licence payers money", says Bacon, then adding: "I think there are a lot of people who will find it difficult to understand why there are so many people at the BBC on such high salaries merited severance payments of this size",

The paper could have done no better, though, than to cite Booker and his weekend piece, where he refers to incompetence at the top being rewarded. But it is interesting to see how the establishment is finally waking up to the train wreck that is the BBC, following where so many have been before.

More and more, the idea of withholding the BBC license fee is not merely looking attractive, but assuming the mantle of a public duty. This and allied matters we will explore further over the next few days.

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