Gary Lineker is revealed as BBC's highest earner - as three female stars go ...

Gary Lineker, Chris Evans and Graham Norton remain at the top of the BBC's rich list despite the corporation handing out huge pay rises of up to £200,000 to women stars, it was revealed today.

Lineker raked in £1.75million for presenting Match of Day last year, while Graham Norton earned £620,000 for his work on Radio 2. Despite leaving BBC radio in December, Chris Evans was still the second-highest earner on £1.25million.

For the first time ever, women were in the top 10, with Claudia Winkleman, Vanessa Feltz and Zoe Ball among the top earners. 

The BBC has spent hundreds of thousands of pounds of licence fee-payers' cash on increasing the wages of women, including Sara Cox, Zoe Ball, Jo Whiley, Lauren Laverne and Emily Maitlis, while slashing the salaries of senior men, it was revealed today.

Meanwhile, a number of high-profile men dropped out of the top 10, including Jeremy Vine, John Humphrys, Nicky Campbell and Nick Grimshaw. 

The BBC's annual report is the first salary disclosures since it sparked outrage by announcing it is scrapping the universal free TV licence for over-75s. 

But the report reveals that the pay rises have come at a cost - with the pay bill for top stars hitting £159million this year, up by £11million on last year.

The Corporation says it is narrowing the gender pay gap after uproar among female stars who learned men were being paid much for for doing the same job.

Jo Whiley was given £100,000 more  this year - up from £170,000 to £275,000. New Radio 2 Breakfast Show host Zoë Ball is earning £370,000, up from less than £150,000, and Sara Cox, who was vying for the top job on BBC radio, is up from £100,000 to £239,000. 

Zoe Ball's pay will rise significantly next year. She has only hosted the radio show since January after taking over from Chris Evans. 

A number of female news presenters also got huge windfalls, with Sophie Raworth now on more than £265,000, up from £205,000, Fiona Bruce on more than £255,000, up from around £185,000, and Emily Maitlis on more than £260,000, up from around £225,000. 

But Jeremy Vine has had £155,000 chopped from his salary while John Humphrys has lost £115,000, Steve Wright by £100,000 and Nicky Campbell is earning £75,000 less last year.

A total 75 people at the BBC now earn over £150,000, up from 64 last year, figures from the report show.

Despite the pay cuts for men, the huge budget for salaries will anger pensioners facing being stripped of their free licences.

Stats released today show a number of women stars seeing pay increases while male presenters suffered pay cuts. The figures show what they earn now, revealing men still enjoy higher pay than their female counterparts

Stats released today show a number of women stars seeing pay increases while male presenters suffered pay cuts. The figures show what they earn now, revealing men still enjoy higher pay than their female counterparts

BBC chairman Sir David Clementi defended the controversial decision over TV licence fees for the over-75s, insisting it is 'the fairest one possible'. 

Sir David said: 'I truly believe the decision we have made to fund free licences for the over-75s in receipt of Pension Credit is the fairest one

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