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Sky-high pay for uni heads ‘has no effect on rankings’

Top earner:
Dame Glynis
Breakwell,
of Bath
University
gets ‘eyewatering’
£451,000
PICTURE: SWNS

THERE is no evidence high pay for vice-chancellors improves universities, a former minister has said.

Wages are ‘out of kilter’ with the public sector, said Tory Andrew Murrison, who quit a role at Bath University over the ‘eye-watering’ £451,000 awarded to its vice-chancellor Prof Dame Glynis Breakwell. He called on ministers to have a ‘very firm conversation’ with the sector.

There was an ‘inverse correlation’ between vice-chancellor pay rises and university rankings, and ‘cartels’ between institution leaders had allowed them to ‘talk up’ salaries, he said.

‘I see no evidence to suggest that paying people more is going to improve the quality of the institution — if anything the data seems to suggest the reverse,’ Mr Murrison said. Frontline university staff were responsible for ‘bringing up standards’ in higher education, he said. ‘They have relatively modest salaries that have been going up by 1.1 per cent as opposed to, for example, in the case of Dame Glynis in Bath 11 per cent,’ he added.

Universities minister Jo Johnson has warned institutions they could be fined if they cannot justify paying leaders more than the prime minister.