The corporation paid out £26.6million to 310 employees between April and November – enough to cover the licence fee for 168,000 pensioners. The average voluntary redundancy payoff is £100,661, say new figures, as the corporation insists it is slashing costs. But critics branded it an “egregious waste of licence fee money”.
Figures revealed 221 staff have taken voluntary redundancy, with another 93 payouts for involuntary redundancy. The average for the latter is £46,773.
Several employees had a goodbye payment of £150,000, the BBC’s upper limit. Julian Knight, Tory chairman of the Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, said: “This is an egregious waste of licence fee money. Redundancy payouts in excess of £100,000 on average are a slap in the face for those over-75s the BBC is forcing to pay licence fees.”
Those leaving include former China editor Carrie Gracie and assistant political editor Norman Smith.
The Government introduced a £95,000 cap on payouts for public sector workers in November just as the BBC prompted outrage by stopping free TV licences – part of plans to cut £125million on top of £800million savings required by 2021-22.
Those on pension credit will not have to pay. John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance pressure group, said: “The BBC claims it can’t pay for TV licences for over-75s, yet is able to find tens of millions of pounds for golden goodbyes. It’s no wonder so many want the licence fee abolished.”
Former BBC presenter Andrew Neil added: “The BBC encouraged 221 staffers to apply for voluntary redundancy at an average cost of £100,000. A further 93 forced into involuntary redundo at average of £47,000. Total cost £26.6m. Or 168,000 licence fees.”
The BBC said: “We are continuing with our modernisation plans to be a leaner, more efficient, broadcaster.”