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Press watch: BBC in ‘U-turn’

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‘The BBC is to offer staff contracts to some of its biggest names in a U-turn after months of accusations that it is enabling tax avoidance. These will be offered mainly to highly-paid individuals who it had previously forced to set up personal service companies.

‘Those affected face heavy pay cuts of up to 40% because the BBC will become liable for NICs among other employment costs. Lord Patten of Barnes, chairman of the BBC Trust, said that he hoped other public sector organisations would follow the BBC’s lead …

‘The corporation is this week considering a report it commissioned from Deloitte after criticism of its tax affairs by MPs. It is understood to have concluded that some individuals paid through service contracts should become staff …

‘[Lord Patten] denied that the BBC had ever “connived at tax-dodging”. He said the BBC had asked its freelance workers to set up personal service companies “in order to avoid the licence fee payer having to be liable for unpaid taxes by people being paid in that way”.’

The Times, 11 October 2012

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