POSTED DECEMBER 1 2008
By Alice-Azania Jarvis
John Prescott may be raking in the cash on the after-dinner speaking circuit, but elsewhere the credit crunch is taking its toll on the lucrative sideline.
Further to my story last week that the former deputy prime minister had received a pay increase thanks to his BBC documentary Prescott: The Class System And Me, I hear that other regulars at the agency Prezza uses are about to see their salaries move in quite the opposite direction.
Jeremy Lee, the chief executive of JLA, which books speakers, tells me he is keen to cut his clients hefty fees to bring them into line with the state of the economy. "We are keen that everybody wakes up – and that we are seen to be doing so," he says. JLA's celebs currently command up to £25,000 for one appearance, making the practice popular with leading figures in showbusiness, sport and politics. The agency's list of clients includes such political luminaries as Alastair Campbell and William Hague, and the actor Kevin Spacey.
But the days of megabucks earnings are drawing to a close, says Mr Lee. He claims the company will be conducting a pay review at the end of the month with an eye to making their famous clients available at more competitive rates.
"Our budget is tightening and almost every speaker will be more flexible," he adds.
POSTED DECEMBER 1 2008
Leading after-dinner speakers, including John Prescott, Alastair Campbell and William Hague, face having their fees slashed to reflect the economic downturn.
John Prescott may face lower fees for after-dinner speeches due to the credit crisis.
Mr Prescott, the former Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Campbell, who was Tony Blair's chief spin doctor, and Mr Hague, the shadow foreign secretary, are all among the high-paid roster of big name speakers boasted by the JLA agency.
Jeremy Lee, the chief executive of the agency, which also represents the actor Kevin Spacey, has signalled that the days when star speakers could command £25,000 for one appearance are over.
He told The Independent: "We are keen that everybody wakes up - and that we are seen to be doing so ... our budget is tightening and almost every speaker will be more flexible."
Mr Lee said that his agency would be conducting a pay review at the end of the month.
The news comes days after it emerged that Mr Prescott had been promoted to "A-grade" by the agency following praise for his BBC2 documentary Prescott: The Class System And Me.
The elevation from the agency's second tier put Mr Prescott alongside Mr Campbell and Mr Hague in the £25,000 price bracket. Mr Lee said: "We have absolutely had an increase in demand [for John]. People loved it."
Michael Portillo, the former Tory cabinet minister and Ken Livingstone, the former London Mayor, remain in the agency's "B-grade", in which the maximum fee is £5,000.