CLAUDIA Winkleman, Vanessa Feltz and Zoe Ball feature in the BBC's list of top 10 earning talent, the corporation's annual report shows.

This is the first time since presenter salaries were disclosed in 2017 that women have made the top 10.

Zoe Ball, who took over hosting the BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show from Chris Evans, is shown to earn £370,000 to £374,999, but that figure will rise next year as she has only hosted the radio show since January.

Claudia Winkleman features in the same earning bracket of £370,000 to £374,999, but the figure does not include her earnings for hosting Strictly Come Dancing, only her other TV and radio for the BBC.

Vanessa Feltz earns £355,000 to £359,999 for work on Radio 2's Early Breakfast Show as well as the Radio London Breakfast Show and cover for Radio 2.

Sports presenter Gary Lineker is still the corporation's top talent earner overall for the second year in a row with a salary of £1,750,000 to £1,754,999.

Former breakfast host Chris Evans, who left the corporation in December, is still featured in the top 10 list with a salary of £1,250,000 to £1,254,999, but will not feature next year.

Last year, salaries were revealed in bands of £10,000 - this year they have been disclosed in bands of £5,000.

The corporation's director-general Tony Hall said it had 'turned a corner on gender pay'.

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Lord Hall added: "When we published the figures for top talent, there was a 75:25 split between men and women. The projection for 2019/20 is now 55:45.

"This is significant change. The task is not complete, we are not complacent, but we are well on our way."

BBC chairman Sir David Clementi said the corporation's recent decision regarding TV licence fees for the over-75s was 'the fairest one possible'.

Free licences will be restricted to over-75s who claim Pension Credit from June 1 2020.

Sir David said: "Of course, the biggest issue the board has had to consider over the past year was on the future of free TV licences for the over-75s.

"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 possible, fairest to the poorest pensioners and fairest to all licence fee payers."

The corporation has faced widespread criticism over its decision.

Speaking at a press conference to address questions about the annual report, Sir David said the corporation had to balance 'what is fair for older and for all audiences' when it came to licence fees for over-75s.

He said: "It is not the decision we wanted to take, it is a decision we were required to take by legislation, the 2017 Digital Economy Act. We had to balance what is fair for older audiences with what is fair for all of our audiences".

Sir David added that he had seen the decision 'characterised in some quarters as a BBC decision to end the over-75 concession, it's not true'.

He explained: "The BBC has never paid for this concession, it's always been the Government that has delivered the funding and it is the Government who ended that funding, not the BBC.

"The reality is that any concession is paid for by those who do pay the licence fee on behalf of those who don't. We have an obligation to be fair to both groups."

Sir David also addressed the suggestion that the BBC could 'fund free TV licences for over-75s by cutting the pay of stars'.

He said: "You know, the sums don't add up. It is clear in this report that even if we employed no stars paid more than £150,000 per annum that would save around £20 million, a fraction of the £745 million a year and rising we would need if we extended the concession to all."

The total talent bill has gone up by almost £11 million to around £159 million while a total 75 people at the BBC now earn over £150,000, up from 64 last year, figures from the report show.