The Scottish Mail on Sunday

Corporatio­n chiefs forced to defend Diversity Tsar paid £267,000 a year for a three-day week

- By Michael Powell and Brendan Carlin

THE BBC’s part-time diversity champion is paid more per day than the head of the Corporatio­n.

Former television presenter June Sarpong takes home £267,000 a year for working a three-day week – or £1,700 per day, according to the annual BBC report.

It means that the 44-year-old would earn £445,000 if she did the job full-time. This compares to Director-General Tim Davie’s £429,000 annual salary, or £1,650 a day.

Her part-time hours leave her free to rake in thousands more from book deals, corporate speaking events and her work as a diversity ambassador on the board of firm Burberry.

Last night, critics questioned why Ms Sarpong was paid so much licence-payers’ cash for her role on the BBC’s executive board, where she is in charge of a £100 million budget to boost ‘diverse and inclusive content’.

Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith said: ‘How can anyone be worth paying £267,000 for working three days a week?

‘Once again the BBC has scored an own goal. There must be thousands of perfectly qualified people who would do this job for less.’

Ms Sarpong was appointed as the BBC’s first creative diversity director in 2019 to ‘achieve real change’ in increasing the number of ethnic minorities and disabled people on screen.

She was made an MBE in the most recent New Year’s Honours list for services to broadcasti­ng.

Last month, she was hired by publisher HarperColl­ins to run its HQ Creative Inclusion Lab, which publishes work by unknown writers from ethnic minorities, disabled and poorer background­s.

Ms Sarpong is the author of several books about diversity and inclusion such as Diversify, The Power Of Women, and The Power Of Privilege: How White People Can Challenge Racism.

In a recent newspaper interview, the former Loose Women panellist said: ‘There is unfairness baked into our system… I don’t for a single second say that all white people are privileged. Of course not. But there are benefits even if you come from a low income and you’re white. You’re never judged on your race.’

A BBC spokesman said: ‘Audiences from all background­s and communitie­s must see themselves represente­d in our programmes. This is an absolute priority for the BBC.

‘June is delivering the BBC’s first creative diversity strategy and has overseen our most significan­t financial investment in diverse content on and off air.

‘She brings extensive experience and knowledge to the BBC Executive Committee in an area we are committed to improving.

‘More broadly on pay, our recent annual report shows that the BBC has reduced senior leader numbers by five per cent and top talent pay is down ten per cent on last year.’

Sir John Hayes, chairman of the Tories’ Common Sense Group, said: ‘It’s clear that the BBC’s preoccupat­ion with every kind of woke cause has encouraged them to pay an excessive salary to a woman for working three days a week.

‘Maybe it would be better off spending money on the priorities of the people who listen to and watch the BBC, not on the prejudices of the liberal bourgeois that run it.’

Tory MP Tom Hunt said: ‘This is an outrageous salary which dwarfs what the Prime Minister gets. I just cannot see how £267,000 for a three-day week can be justified.’

A spokesman for Ms Sarpong declined to comment.

‘Outrageous salary that dwarfs what the PM gets’

 ??  ?? PAY STORM: TV presenter and diversity champion June Sarpong
PAY STORM: TV presenter and diversity champion June Sarpong

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