In a letter to Labour MP David Winnick, a member of the home affairs select committee, who has been pursuing the issue, the acting director general, Tim Davie, attached an email sent to staff by his chief financial officer, Zarin Patel, explaining its plans to reform the way it pays stars.
The email added: “We will begin implementing these changes immediately. However, because there is no legal basis for terminating contracts early, moving individuals with existing contracts from service companies to BBC staff or self-employed individuals will take place as their contracts expire.”
Winnick said he believed there was no excuse for the prevarication and the contracts should be immediately renegotiated: “No information is given as to when these contracts will end, so it does appear that this will continue for quite a considerable time.
“Almost certainly, in most cases, if not all, the 804 people would be considered to be employees of the BBC in the sense that they appear regularly all the year round presenting and appearing on programmes and I cannot understand how it can possibly be justified that … these people would pay a level of tax less than my constituents, whose average salary is just under £23,000.
Quite apart from the fact that Winnick seems to be innumerate – there is no way that his constituents on £23k are paying either more tax or a higher rate of tax – look at what he’s saying.
You must unilaterally rip up contracts, break the law in fact, to do what I insist you must.
To which the correct answer is “fuck off you toad”.