Lord Hall: The Director-General who pledged to clean up BBC told to return cash

MPs tell Tony Hall to pay back £24,500 he received when he quit for Royal Opera House in 2001

Tony Hall, the BBC Director-General, is under mounting pressure to pay back the £24,500 in additional pension contributions he received when he resigned from the corporation to lead of the Royal Opera House 12 years ago.

It has emerged that Lord Hall, who has vowed to crackdown on a culture of excessive pay-offs at the corporation, was given the bonus payment when he left his £204,000-a-year job as BBC head of current affairs in 2001. He quit the BBC to become chief executive of the Royal Opera House, on what is believed to have been a higher salary, after losing out to Greg Dyke in his bid to become Director-General.

MPs on the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) have now called on Lord Hall to return the money, which was paid on top of what the BBC was required to pay in his contract. They asked why he did not disclose the payment when he was grilled during a session on BBC pay-offs in July. Questioned over the £25m which was paid to 150 outgoing executives, including £2m on top of contractual obligations, Lord Hall told MPs: “We’d lost the plot. We’d got bedevilled by zeros on salaries.”

MPs will raise Lord Hall’s pension payment when Lord Patten, the BBC Trust chairman, and Mark Thompson, the former Director-General, appear before the PAC on Monday in what promises to be a stormy session.

Stephen Barclay, a Conservative member of the committee, said the payment revealed Lord Hall had “benefited from the very culture he has pledged to reform and is another example of executives signing off generous pay-offs that they would benefit from in the future”.

Mr Barclay questioned why Lord Hall had not disclosed that he had been the beneficiary of “this lax pay-off culture.”

Ian Swales, a Liberal Democrat PAC member, called for the extra payments to be repaid, since the money had come from the public purse.

The BBC’s accounts for 2001 show that Lord Hall received “an additional contribution of £24,539 to his pension arrangements on leaving the BBC”, which he received after securing his new position at the Royal Opera House.

The additional payment is believed to be the balance for the added years of pension bought by Lord Hall and would have been authorised by Mr Dyke, who was his line manager at the time.

Former senior BBC executives including Roly Keating, the BBC’s former head of archive content, have returned all or part of their pay-offs.

This evening it also emerged that  BBC has been ordered to disclose to the PAC the names of scores of senior managers who received severance payments between 2006 and 2012.

The committee invoked a rarely used standing order to force the disclosure and the BBC, which has long argued that data protection issues meant they could not make the names public, has now written to the individuals to warn them that their severance packages could be made public. 

The group is believed to include former BBC1 boss Peter Fincham, who reportedly got a £500,000 pay-off when he left the corporation in 2007 in the wake of a scandal sparked by misleading footage of the Queen. On Monday the committee will hear evidence from Mark Thompson, the former Director-General who left the corporation last year for The New York Times. On Thursday, Mr Thompson accused the current BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten and trustee Anthony Fry of “misleading” the PAC.

Mr Thompson said he had emails which show that Trust members, including Lord Patten, approved a tranche of the payments, including a £949,000 deal for the departing deputy Director-General Mark Byford.

He said: “The insinuation that they were kept in the dark by me or anyone else is false.” Lord Patten said he was “looking forward” to coming back before the committee next week and had “no concerns” about what Mr Thompson has said.

Ben Bradshaw, the Labour MP and former Culture Secretary, called for the BBC Trust to be scrapped. The corporation should be regulated by Ofcom instead, he said.

A BBC spokesperson saud: "In 2001, Tony Hall received a discretionary contribution towards his pension when he left the BBC. This was not part of a severance deal and was declared in the Annual Report for that year."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
Child's play: letting young people roam outdoors directly contradicts the current climate
lifeHow much independence should children have?
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book
booksFind out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>2008</strong></p>
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>
filmRobert Downey Jr named Hollywood's highest paid actor for second year running
Life and Style
Dale Bolinger arranged to meet the girl via a fetish website
life
Property
Sign here, please: Magna Carta Island
propertyYours for a cool £4m
Life and Style
tech
News
The Commonwealth flag flies outside Westminster Abbey in central London
news
Arts and Entertainment
Struggling actors who scrape a living working in repertory theatres should get paid a 'living wage', Sir Ian McKellen has claimed
theatre
Extras
indybest
News
Skye McCole Bartusiak's mother said she didn't use drink or drugs
peopleActress was known for role in Mel Gibson film The Patriot
Arts and Entertainment
tvWebsite will allow you to watch all 522 shows on-demand
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Graduate Sales Executive

17.5k + Commission (£18.5k after probation period): ESI Media: You will be res...

PPC Account Managers

£25k - £30k (DOE): Guru Careers: Two expert PPC Account Managers are needed to...

PPC Manager

£30,000 - £35,000: Sauce Recruitment: PPC Manager urgently required for indepe...

Content Manager - Central London

£35000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Content Manager - Central...

Day In a Page

Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor