Ex-BBC head payoff "tough to justify" - government

LONDON Mon Nov 12, 2012 5:13pm IST

BBC director-general George Entwistle leaves his home in south London October 26, 2012. REUTERS/Olivia Harris

BBC director-general George Entwistle leaves his home in south London October 26, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Olivia Harris

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LONDON (Reuters) - The 450,000-pound payoff for ex-BBC Director General George Entwistle who resigned at the weekend just two months into the job, is "tough to justify," Culture Secretary Maria Miller said on Monday.

Entwistle quit after the publicly-funded broadcaster aired mistaken allegations of child sex abuse against a former leading politician.

He would have been entitled to six-months' salary as a payoff but instead has been awarded a full year's pay, the BBC said.

"This is a large amount of money, and tough to justify considering the circumstances of Mr Entwistle's departure and his contractual arrangements," Miller said in a statement.

"The (BBC) Trust will need to justify this - it is accountable to licence fee payers in ensuring value for money, and we expect it to have considered that carefully.

"The BBC is a global British institution, and above all else it is vital that it focuses on restoring its credibility," she added.

"The Trust needs to act swiftly to ensure that the management and leadership issues in the Corporation are resolved."

The BBC Trust is responsible for overseeing the BBC.

(Reporting by Stephen Addison)

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