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University Leaders Pay Remains under the Spotlight

Posted by Richard Ward in ,

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

The vice-chancellor of Oxford University has hit back at claims there is a link between increased tuition fees and high levels of pay for university heads.

Louise Richardson said it was dishonest of politicians to make the link and pay was a reflection of a global marketplace.

Prof Richardson added: "I think it's completely mendacious for politicians to suggest that vice-chancellors have used the £9,000 fees to enhance their own salaries.

"We know that the £9,000 fees were a substitute for the withdrawal of government funding."

She suggested leading UK universities wanted to attract heads from around the world, which meant competing financially.

It was highlighted that in the United States, more than 40 university leaders were earning more than a million dollars a year.

Universities minister Jo Johnson had previously warned of an "upward spiral" in vice-chancellors' pay. Mr Johnson suggested universities had to do more to address students' concerns regarding value for money, particularly when vice-chancellors are earning such high salaries.

Elsewhere, Bath University's Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell said the university was conducting its own review into the remuneration committee which sets her pay. This comes after four MPs quit roles at the university in protest over her salary.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England watchdog is running its own investigation into whether the pay is sufficiently transparent.

Commenting on the review, Prof Breakwell said: "The university is committed to the highest standards of governance and treats very seriously any complaint made.

"We are also committed to confronting any issues or shortcomings in a transparent and direct manner that reflects the importance of this institution to every member of our university community."