Culture Secretary says BBC stars should have pay capped at £150,000
The BBC should limit stars' pay to the Prime Minister's salary of £150,000, the new Culture Secretary has declared.
Matt Hancock said he would be raising the issue of presenters' pay when he meets BBC director general Tony Hall in the next few weeks.
If enforced it could mean a massive pay cut for top names such as football presenter Gary Lineker - although Mr Hancock did say salaries could be higher in "exceptional circumstances".
It comes after a row this week over equal pay for male and female presenters at the corporation, with Carrie Gracie resigning as China Editor because she was being paid £45,000 less than some male editors in similar roles.
Appearing on ITV1's Peston on Sunday, Mr Hancock suggested it was unfair that media performers got more money than top government officials and armed service personnel.
"Across the rest of the public sector we brought in rules to say that except in exception circumstances people who are paid for by taxpayers' money shouldn't be paid more than the Prime Minister," he said.
"Now, outside of the BBC, the BBC of course are responsible for their own pay and I think that they missed a chance to bring in that kind of rule when we brought it in for the rest of the public sector a few years ago so now it has to go through a special process to pay somebody more than the Prime Minister.
"Of course, there's sometimes circumstances where that's necessary. But if you think about it this way - in a country round the world where people are paid for by the taxpayer, who should we be paying the most to? Is it the BBC editor or is it the ambassador?
"The generals are also making a very good point that people in the armed services put their life on the line and yet they abide by the public sector pay norms, which is not to have excessive pay and where the Prime Minister's pay is seen as a guide at the top."
Asked if he would be pressing the BBC on the issue, he replied: "I'm looking forward to seeing the director general of the BBC in the next couple of weeks and we will certainly be discussing this topic."