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.