Corrections and clarifications

Corrections and clarifications

November 17, 2023

Sir, your article ‘BBC crisis over £1.7bn pension bill for stars’ (4/11/2023) is incorrect and significantly inflates the BBC’s obligation to fund its defined benefit pension scheme shortfall and employer contribution rate. 

The BBC’s Annual Report and Accounts 2022/2023 state that the most recent triennial actuarial valuation of the scheme as at 1 April 2022 shows a funding shortfall of £841 million in total. The valuation is required by law and the figure is assessed independently by a pension specialist and has been reviewed by the National Audit Office.

We have agreed a payment plan with the Pension Scheme Trustee to help ensure that the shortfall is eliminated by December 2028. The plan incorporates cash payments supplemented by contingent contributions. The cash payments are £50 million annually from April 2023 to April 2027, and a payment of £38 million in the following year. The contingent contributions would be payable in addition to the cash payments, based on future assessments of the funding level. Since the 2022 valuation, funding has improved. The latest interim valuation report shows that by 1 April 2023 there was a small funding surplus.

The incorrect deficit contribution figure derived by the Telegraph inflates the BBC’s obligation to fund the shortfall by more than double. Both our Annual Reports and Accounts and the agreed Recovery Plan are publicly available. Further information about the Scheme and its funding position can be found at

Your article also reports a contribution rate of 42.3% of staff salary into the defined benefit scheme. The Schedule of Contributions agreed with the Scheme Trustee as part of the 2022 actuarial valuation states that the employer contribution rate for the defined benefit pension scheme is currently set to 30% of members’ pensionable salaries.

The defined benefit pension scheme was closed to new joiners to the BBC in 2010, and we are currently awaiting a hearing at the Court of Appeal to clarify what options are available to us for the future of the scheme.

Leigh Tavaziva - Group Chief Operating Officer, BBC


September 21, 2023

An article ‘Heart attack victims are 19 mins from the nearest defibrillator’ (Aug 29) was incorrect as defibrillators are used when someone has a cardiac arrest and not a heart attack. We are happy to correct the record. 


September 19, 2023

An article “‘Honey I’m suing the kids’: court cases treble as Bank of Mum and Dad demands refunds” (7 Sept 2019) reported that Mr Karl Watkin MBE had sued his daughter ‘to claw back some of the money he gifted her to buy her first home’. This was inaccurate. Mr Watkin’s daughter was the subject of legal proceedings brought by the joint trustees in bankruptcy of Mr Watkins. The legal action failed. We apologise for this error and are happy to correct the record.

August 29, 2023

An article “We are all paying the terrible price for lockdown” (Nov, 19) reported that pandemic related measures in Sweden cost 60 billion kroner in 2020 and 2021, a tenth of the UK figure for Covid-related spending. This was misleading. The 60 billion kroner related only to business support. This correction has been published following an upheld ruling by the Independent Press Standards Organisation.  

An article ‘TikTok now the biggest source of news for young teens’, (July, 20) included statements which may have been understood to mean that TikTok is controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (“CCP”) and is operated for the benefit of the CCP against the West. We are happy to make clear that TikTok categorically denies the allegations.  We apologise to TikTok for not approaching it for comment prior to publication.