Entertainment & Arts

Equal pay: BBC criticised by MPs again

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The BBC has been criticised by a group of MPs who say the corporation is refusing to admit it has a problem when it comes to equal pay.

The House of Commons culture committee has been investigating the issue.

It said it was "very disappointed that the BBC has failed to acknowledge that a pay discrimination problem exists".

The inquiry was sparked when presenter Carrie Gracie accused the BBC of pay discrimination last year. The BBC said it had now made "significant reforms".

The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee published highly critical findings into the BBC's pay structure in October.

In response, the BBC admitted inadequate procedures to prevent the risk of unequal pay had existed in the past, but that new systems had been put in place to stop the problem arising in the future.

However, the MPs have published another report because, they say, the BBC is still failing to acknowledge the "structural problem that exists regarding equal pay" in the corporation.

The committee's chair Damian Collins MP said: "Our evidence suggests that some women at the BBC who work in comparable jobs to men are earning far less."

'Much has changed'

The original report called for new targets to be set by December 2018, but the committee has said it is "disappointed that the BBC has failed to set specific targets for tackling discrimination".

In January 2018, BBC director general Tony Hall pledged to close the gender pay gap and have women in half of all on-air roles by 2020.

In its response to the committee's latest criticisms, a BBC statement said: "You only need to look at the significant reforms we've made to our pay and grading structures to see how much has changed, and we've also dealt with many of the individual pay queries raised with us.

"While we do not agree on everything the committee says, we have acknowledged previously that we still have more to do - particularly to finish addressing the individual pay queries and grievances. We will update on this in our annual report."

Staff 'frustration'

BBC Women, a group of staff set up to campaign for equality, said the corporation's treatment of women was "disheartening and disrespectful".

Their statement said: "We're grateful for the support of MPs on the DCMS committee - they obviously share our frustration. As long as the corporation refuses to admit it has a pay discrimination problem, and won't use the term 'unequal pay', then things are hardly likely to improve.

"It's disheartening and disrespectful. If an organisation like the BBC doesn't value its female workforce, what's going on elsewhere?"

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