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Strictly star Claudia Winkleman leads female charge up BBC salary ladder

Three female broadcasters have smashed the BBC gender pay ceiling by entering the top 10 list of earners at the corporation.

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Strictly presenter Claudia Winkleman, Radio 2 breakfast host Zoe Ball and her station colleague Vanessa Feltz were the highest paid women this year.

Their climb up the salary ladder comes after the embattled BBC was accused of peddling a gender pay gap by Prime Minister Theresa May and several of its own stars.  

The trio’s swelled pay packets saw Today programme presenter John Humphrys, Nicky Campbell and Jeremy Vine knocked off the top 10 list.

 ‘The job isn’t complete, but we now have a record of change that we can be proud of,’ a BBC source told the Sunday Times. 

In 2016-17, 76 per cent of the corporation’s presenters and actors earning more than £150,000 were men. 

But after the BBC was rocked by a string of unequal pay rows, it was forced to tighten its belt when offering its male stars contracts, which has seen the likes of Humphrys take pay cuts. 

Last month, a high-ranking female manager refused a promotion after discovering that her proposed salary is £12,000 less than her male counterpart who has an identical job.

Karen Martin issued a public slap-down to the broadcaster when she emailed hundreds of her colleagues explaining why she would be turning down the role of deputy editor.

And ex-China editor Carrie Gracie quit the role following revelations that she was paid less than her US male counterpart. 

The full list of BBC stars’ pay is expected to be revealed next week.   

New figures will show the broadcaster spent approximately £157million on ‘on-air’ talent last year – up from £147.6million the year before.

This is a rise of nearly 7 per cent, about two-and-a-half times the inflation rate.

The figures, to be revealed soon in the BBC’s annual report, are likely to reignite fury over the Corporation’s decision to strip over-75s of their free TV licences.

The BBC has insisted it cannot afford the concession for pensioners, and that it should be means-tested.

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