BBC 'paying out unearned allowances'

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The Independent Online

The BBC is wasting millions of pounds a year paying allowances to staff who do not qualify for them, it was reported today.

The Corporation is looking for savings after the licence fee was frozen for six years in a deal announced in October that saw it take responsibility for funding the World Service and the BBC Monitoring Service.

According to The Guardian, the BBC's HR department found #28 million was paid in allowances intended as compensation for people working unpredictable hours to staff who worked a regular routine.

It also reported that the internal investigation found #50 million was paid out to staff judged to be "poorly performing".

A BBC spokeswoman said: "We have only just started a major BBC-wide consultation. It is only right that BBC staff have an opportunity to input ideas about shaping the BBC's future.

"Inevitably this has led to speculation. We are not going to get drawn into a running commentary - no decisions have been taken and therefore these reports remain speculation."

The BBC's Putting Quality First report, which was published in December, said the corporation would "re-examine the whole BBC cost base" in search of savings.

The BBC has committed to reducing the pay bill of senior managers by 25% and the number of senior managers by 20%.

It has already announced it will cut around 360 jobs and close hundreds of websites as part of "a more streamlined" approach to its online service.