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124 uni chiefs earn more than the PM, watchdog reports

VICE-CHANCELLORS at more than 120 universities were paid more than Theresa May last year, the higher education watchdog has revealed.

Data shows 1.5 per cent of staff in the sector received a basic salary of more than £100,000 in 2017/18 — up from 1.3 per cent the previous year.

The top earner was Prof Dame Glynis Breakwell (pictured) at the University of Bath, who was paid £470,000. Stephen Toope at the University of Cambridge received £431,000. Both took home a total of £492,000 when other benefits were added.

The proportion of staff receiving a basic salary of more than £100,000 fell at 48 universities. But 124 of the 133 universities in England paid heads more than the £150,000 the prime minister earns, according to figures from the Office for Students (OfS). Its chief executive Nicola Dandridge said it was not for the OfS to set pay, but added: ‘Where pay is out of kilter, or salary increases at the top outstrip pay awards to other staff, vice-chancellors should be prepared to answer tough questions.’

But the University and College Union labelled the regulator a ‘paper tiger’, saying it failed to look at excessive and arbitrary rises still enjoyed by some vice-chancellors, or tackle expenses and other benefits in kind that have ‘plagued universities in recent years’.

Education secretary Damian Hinds said it was ‘right’ the OfS ‘demands greater transparency from universities to justify pay and benefits’.

‘We have given the OfS powers to take action and expect them to be used where necessary,’ he added.


1. University of Bath, £470,000 — Dame Glynis Breakwell (on sabbatical in 2018-2019 and formally retiring later this month)

2. University of Cambridge, £431,000 — Professor Stephen Toope

3. University of Southampton, £423,000 — Sir Christopher Snowden

4. London Business School, £422,000 — Francois Ortalo-Magne

5. University of Birmingham, £386,000 — Sir David Eastwood