Uni Vice Chancellors face parliamentary investigation into their rising pay

An MP has described their pay as ‘astronomical’

University Vice Chancellors are facing a parliamentary investigation into their ballooning pay, after The Tab revealed six in ten bosses got a pay rise last year.

An MP has described VC pay as “astronomical” and written to the National Audit Office (NAO) to demand an investigation.

The NAO, a parliamentary body which scrutinises public spending, told The Tab it is “carefully considering” the merit of Labour MP Barry Sheerman’s request.

A Tab investigation last week found the country’s highest paid uni boss gets over £1,500 every day, one of a handful of VCs who get paid over £450,000 a year. Six in 10 uni chiefs got a pay rise from 2017-18 to 2018/19.

“Senior salaries in universities are getting out of proportion. People find it hard to believe. Many must be wondering what the reason for these astronomical salaries is,” Sheerman, the MP for Huddersfield and former chair of the Commons Education Committee, told The Tab.

“They’re not running companies fighting for market share. Higher education is a fairly predictable sector,” said Sheerman, who criticised the level of student debt.

“We should be asking what is the reasonable level of chief executive pay compared to the average of the organisation they’re heading up? The French have very strict rules on this.

“The reason I get particularly concerned is the relationship between senior staff and the average pay. The gap is astonishing.”

Vice Chancellors’ salaries have never been investigated before by the NAO.

A National Audit Office spokesperson told The Tab: “We can confirm that we have received correspondence raising concerns about the salaries of senior managers in the university sector. We are carefully considering the contents of the letter and will reply to the correspondent in due course.”

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