BBC staff pocketed a 20 per cent pay rise as bosses plotted to strip hard-up OAPs of their free TV licences, it has been revealed.
Workers at the corporation enjoyed an average rise of £6,980 – costing taxpayers an extra £7.9million.
Figures show 889 staff members were granted a bump of between 10 and 20 per cent followed by another 256 getting a rise of more than 20 per cent last year, the Times reports.
The total cost across the Beeb was enough to continue free TV licences for 51,000 OAPs.
Age campaigners described the pay hike as "sickening".
BBC WAGE BOOST
News of the controversial pay rises comes at an awkward time for the Beeb with corporation chiefs claiming they cannot afford to give out free licences anymore.
They now plan to charge 3.7million pensioners £3-a-week – while shelling out millions for on-air talent.
Last month the corporation was blasted for spending £157million on wages in 2018.
This represented £10million rise on the previous 12 months and was blasted as “unjustifiable” by Tory MP Damian Collins.
The £157million BBC bill covers all “on-air roles” — from little-known broadcasters to stars earning hundreds of thousands.
Household names like Gary Lineker, around £1,754,99-a-year, and Graham Norton, around £610,000 yearly, are among the BBC's highest earners.
It is up nearly seven per cent on the previous year — about 2½ times the inflation rate. The BBC will also disclose the salary details of every employee paid £150,000 or more.
In 2017 — the first year salary details were published — just four of 20 top earners were female.
The BBC staved off a staff revolt over the gender pay gap by forcing some of its highest-paid male stars to take pay cuts.
Newsreader Sophie Raworth was among those who received major increases after the row.
The Beeb has repeatedly said cutting wages to its highest earners would not effect free TV licence.
It also argued that if the new £3 charge was not introduced much-loved platforms like BBC Two and radio stations could face the chop.
A BBC spokesman said: “While there are strict rules around any pay increases it’s only right that when people are promoted or take on extra responsibilities it’s reflected in their salary.
“Just as at any organisation, there will be a number of cases where people are promoted to a significantly more senior or prominent role or take on a wide range of extra responsibilities.”
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