Auditors say corporation also missed goal to reduce proportion of senior managers to 1% of total workforce.
The number of BBC executives paid more than £150,000 a year has increased over a five-year period despite a commitment to make a substantial cut, Whitehall’s spending watchdog has said.
The National Audit Office found the number had risen from 89 in January 2012 to 98 in March 2016. The BBC had pledged to reduce the number by 20%. The prime minister, Theresa May, currently earns £150,402 a year.
Auditors also found the BBC had missed its target to reduce the proportion of senior managers to 1% of the total workforce by 2015. In December 2016 senior managers comprised 1.6% of the workforce.
From 2010-11 to 2015-16 the BBC reduced the cost of its payroll workforce by 6% in real terms and the size of its payroll workforce by 4%.
Unions raised concerns that the broadcaster was cutting news-gathering and creative staff while maintaining the number of executives and managers. Staff numbers in the television division dropped by 22%, from 2,675 to 2,085, over the five-year period, the NAO figures show.
Sue Harris, the National Union of Journalists’ broadcasting organiser, said: “The NUJ, which has seen its members hit by wave upon wave of budget and job cuts, has long argued for the layers of management to be cut and resources concentrated on the frontline of programming and news gathering.
“This is all particularly worrying because of the disastrous licence fee deal agreed by the BBC, which includes funding free licence fees for the over-75s at a cost of £1.3bn over five years, then £750m each year.”