Graham Norton likens tax-dodging celebrities such as Jimmy Carr to drunk-drivers

Graham Norton has likened tax-dodgers to drink-drivers.

The Mirror reports that the chat show host, 57, was asked in a recent US radio interview about fellow-comedian Jimmy Carr, who was caught up in a tax scandal several years ago - to which Graham expressed the need for harsher punishments.

'There was a time when drunk-driving was sort of socially acceptable. People left dinner parties drunk [and would say] "Oh, I’m driving, I’ll be fine". Now if somebody did that, I think people would be like, "Please don’t… that is a bad idea, you might kill someone".

Crime and punishment: Graham Norton has likened tax-dodgers to drink-drivers

Crime and punishment: Graham Norton has likened tax-dodgers to drink-drivers

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'Hopefully we will get to a stage where tax avoidance is the same as that.' 

Graham added: 'If everyone pays their tax, there are nice roads, neighbourhoods are safer, children are well educated.'

The broadcaster recently lashed out at the annual publishing of BBC stars' high salaries, branding the practice both 'pointless' and 'rubbish'.

The broadcaster, 57, who recently quit BBC Radio 2 after 10 years to head to Virgin Radio, has admitted that he looks forward to no longer having his earnings published for public consumption – a factor that contributed in his decision to leave.

In an interview with The Sun, Graham – who most recently placed third after Gary Lineker and Zoe Ball with a £729,999 pay packet – criticised the fact that the list doesn't comprehensively cover the earnings of employees. 

Slammed: The chat show host, 57, called for harsher punishments in a recent US radio interview

Slammed: The chat show host, 57, called for harsher punishments in a recent US radio interview

He told the publication: 'The high earners list, which I didn’t like being on, hey, now I’m not. So to that extent it made me go, but that was a bonus of leaving, it wasn’t the biggest driving force.

'The list is rubbish. It doesn’t mean anything. It doesn’t tell you what people are earning because of how people are paid, which is why so many radio people are on that list.

'It is pointless, but if they weren’t publishing it, there wouldn’t be that many women on it. When they first published it, they were properly embarrassed there were so few women on it. I think that list will become more diverse over the next few years.'

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Back in September, the BBC came under fire after it published accounts showing that staff pay had soared 3.5 per cent to £1.5billion – while the Corporation pushes ahead with its plans to strip a million over-75s of their free TV licences. 

Earnings: The broadcaster, who recently quit BBC Radio 2 after 10 years to head to Virgin Radio, has admitted that he looks forward to no longer having his earnings published

Earnings: The broadcaster, who recently quit BBC Radio 2 after 10 years to head to Virgin Radio, has admitted that he looks forward to no longer having his earnings published

Published accounts showed that Zoe Ball is now the BBC's highest earner after pocketing a £1million pay rise – knocking Gary Lineker off the top spot.

The Match of the Day star, 60, is understood to have signed a new five-year contract – and a nearly 25 per cent pay cut from £1.75million down to £1.35million. 

Radio 2 presenter Ball, 50, is now earning £1.36million despite losing nearly a million listeners after the corporation pledged to tackle the gender pay gap.

They have been trying to level up the pay of male and female stars to repair damage to the corporation’s reputation and reduce discord among staff.

Equality issues led to the BBC handing out a settlement to former China editor Carrie Gracie in 2018 and then last year losing an equal pay tribunal case to Samira Ahmed.

Critics blasted its decision to reward its staff with

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