At a time when lecturers are taking industrial action to protect their pensions from cuts, those charged with running many of the country’s universities are enjoying first-class air travel, five-star hotel, and fine dining. They include a series of questionable items including a “pornstar martini”, a silver salver, Easter eggs and a Fortnum & Mason hamper. One university even paid £1,600 for its new vice-chancellor’s pet dog, a Maltese called Oscar, to be relocated from Australia. Between them, the country’s university vice-chancellors and their senior colleagues claimed almost £8m in expenses over the last two years, Dispatches discovered.
60 vice-chancellors now earning in excess of £300,000 a year, there are concerns that their pay packages and perks are out of kilter with those of their academic colleagues who have received an average 1% annual pay rise since 2012 – a fall in real terms. University of Bath vice-chancellor, Dame Glynis Breakwell, total pay package was £468,000, the highest in the land.
Professor Steve West, the vice-chancellor of the University of the West of England claimed £43,000 in expenses, including £10,000 on executive cars with a firm that describes itself as “the premier chauffeur service in Bristol and the south-west.”