UWE Vice Chancellor’s expenses exposed on Dispatches documentary

Steve West claimed £43k in expenses, including chauffer driven rides to and from London

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For those of you who are unaware, Professor Steve West is the Vice-Chancellor for The University of the West of England.

Last night, a Channel 4 Dispatches documentary exposed the extortionate expenses claimed by vice-chancellors across UK Universities. The documentary uncovered the scandalous claims, which included a relocation package for a family dog (costing £1,686), 5* business holidays alongside their partners, chauffeur driven cars and various expenditures on futile items such as cushions and candles.

Steve West earns £279,532 a year including benefits and has spent £43,293 worth of public money since mid-2016. This included a whopping £10,000 on "exclusive chauffeur-driven car rides to London" alone.

A UWE spokesperson said the university repudiates some of the info that was aired to viewers, claiming the programme's producers "present an unfair and inaccurate portrayal of the university and its finances".

They told ITN that Mr West has been involved in a number of roles outside of the university and the subsequent relationships he forms “enhance the opportunities” of students and staff alike.

They further added, that unlike other universities, UWE does not offer staff drivers and using a private driver hire is much more cost effective when there is not enough time to make trips by other means of transport.

In addition, the claim Mr West’s expenses were remunerative for both the university and its students. Arguable? I think so.

Dispatches asked public universities in Britain to provide their expense receipts and credit card statements from the past two years. 13 out of the 157 universities that were approached, did not supply any information.

The Channel 4 programme Britain’s University Spending Scandal aired last night at 8pm with aims to shed light upon the clandestine expenditures of our own vice chancellors and included commentaries from UWE students.