MPs brand George Entwistle BBC payout 'cavalier'

The pay-off that former director general of the BBC, George Entwistle, received when he quit has been called a 'cavalier' use of public money by MPs.

by Michael Northcott
Last Updated: 09 Jul 2014

He was in the post for less than two months, but walked out the door with a £450,000 payout after the Jimmy Savile scandal blew up and provoked public outrage.

But now MPs in the Public Accounts Committee have said that the payment was an ‘unacceptable use’ of licence fee payers’ money, and that it was not in line with similar packages elsewhere in the public sector.

Is there any sight less edifying that that of indignant MPs in full moral outrage mode? As a group they know plenty about inappropriate use of public money themselves - remember the expenses scandals?

Still, chairwoman Margaret Hodge said: ‘Public servant should not be rewarded for failure. But that was exactly what happened when the BBC Trust paid off the former director general, George Entwistle. 

‘In order to speed his departure, he was paid £450,000, twice what he was contractually entitled to, and then, if that were not bad enough, 12 months' private medical cover and a contribution to the cost of his legal fees and public relations advice were added to the package. 

‘This cavalier use of public money is out of line with public expectations and what is considered acceptable elsewhere in the public sector.’

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