University bosses face criticism over expenses

Credit: PA

University bosses are facing criticism over the size of their salaries and expenses bills.

University bosses enjoyed salary packages worth more than £250,000 on average last year, with some handed pay hikes of over 10%, it has been revealed.

Vice-chancellors also ran up bills worth thousands of pounds for hotels, flights - often travelling in first or business class - and other expenses, figures show.

The University and College Union (UCU), which obtained the data through freedom of information requests, said staff and students would be "amazed" at the size of university leaders' salaries and the "largesse" displayed by some in expenses.

The vice-chancellor of the University of Manchester spent £22,256 on flights last year, while her counterpart at the University of Salford claimed £22,592 in general expenses.

The vice-chancellor of the University of Liverpool Sir Howard Newby spent £27,403 on flights last year, and another £12,573 on hotel stays.That is three times the UK vice-chancellor average on flights, taking 97% of them in business or first class.

A spokesperson for Liverpool University said that the chancellors flight expenses were due to the Vice-Chancellors needs to travel overseas to develop international partnerships.

The report shows the average spending on flights for the year 2013/14 by vice-chancellors was £9,706 and that two-thirds (68%) of all flights were taken in business or first class.

Last year, ministers publicly criticised spiralling pay, saying they had serious concerns about the "substantial upward drift" of salaries, and that university leaders should show "much greater restraint".

UK universities are independent institutions but they receive public grants, and students receive government loans to pay tuition fees.

A spokesperson for Salford University said that the expenses figures for their former vice-chancellor included costs which were reported separately by other institutions so could not be compared fairly.