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BBC focuses too much on ethnic diversity rather than class, claims Breakfast presenter Steph McGovern

The BBC focuses too much on ethnic diversity and not enough on class, the Breakfast presenter Steph McGovern has said as she claimed that “posh women are paid a lot more” than her.

While the BBC is vocal about “ethnic diversity” and has addressed some of the issues highlighted in the gender pay row last month, she claimed it has not done enough to tackle the class divide in presenters’ pay.

Arguing for a salary cap of £150,000 for presenters, Ms McGovern is reported in The Sunday Times as saying that state-educated presenters such as her have had to “argue” their way to pay equality.

The Breakfast presenter has what she describes as a “Smoggy” accent, having grown up in Middlesbrough, where she attended the state-funded Macmillan City Technology College.

Although Ms McGovern was recently given a “significant pay rise”, following new contracts issued in the wake of the gender pay row, she is “just now” over the six-figure benchmark she said. 

It’s dead important to represent loads of different culturesSteph McGovern

“It’s not as simple as a gender issue, it’s partly down to class,” she said. “There are a lot of women who do a similar job to me who are paid a hell of a lot more… who are a lot posher than me.”

She added: “We concentrate too much on ethnic diversity and not enough on class.”

One manager at the corporation told her she was “too common” to be a BBC presenter, Ms McGovern alleged.

“It’s dead important to represent loads of different cultures,” she said. “But what the BBC doesn’t do enough of is thinking about getting people from more working-class backgrounds. It’s just posh.”

Steph McGovern, pictured in May last year

David M Benett/Getty Images

The recent debate on pay, sparked by the resignation of Carrie Gracie as the BBC’s China Editor, has focused on the gap between men and women’s salaries at the broadcaster. But many of the BBC’s top female presenters attended private schools and Oxbridge universities.

Laura Kuenssberg, who earns a salary of between £200,000 and £250,000, went to a private grammar school in Glasgow that charges annual fees of up to £12,000.

Last year, a BBC report found that 61 per cent of its employees had parents who were in or had been in higher managerial positions and professional occupations.

Sharon White, the Chief Executive of Ofcom, described the corporation as “falling short” on representation.

A BBC spokeswoman said: “More than 80 per cent of the BBC’s workforce was educated in state schools and the BBC is more diverse than it has ever been.

“The BBC has a clear commitment to finding and developing new talent. We offer hundreds of apprenticeships to ensure the BBC is open to people from all backgrounds and a range of programmes to help people develop their career once they’ve joined, but there’s always more to do and we have an ambitious diversity strategy which sets out our commitment to fully reflecting and representing the whole of the UK.”

Article Source : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/02/25/bbc-focuses-much-ethnic-diversity-rather-class-claims-breakfast/

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