Wales politics

Hikes in university vice-chancellor payments revealed

Aberystwyth University
Image caption Vice-chancellor payments rose by 85% in one year at Aberyswyth

There have been significant rises in the amounts paid to vice-chancellors at a number of universities in Wales.

Aberystwyth paid more than £400,000 for two people to do the job last year with payments rising by 85% on the previous year.

Payments also spiked at Wrexham Glyndwr, Cardiff Metropolitan University and Bangor University.

Education Secretary Kirsty Williams "urged full transparency and accountability" on pay.

The figures come after the head of Oxford University - who is paid £350,000 - accused "tawdry politicians" of undermining the UK's university sector.

Aberystwyth's vice-chancellor April McMahon had a salary of £237,000 between July 2015 and July 2016. She left the university in July 2016 with an extra payment of £102,000.

The acting vice-chancellor John Grattan, who took up the role between February and July of 2016, was paid £75,000.

The university - whose staff are facing job losses - said part of the cost was offset by not replacing a senior member of the management team elsewhere.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Bangor University's vice-chancellor received a 7.5% pay rise in 2015/16

Wrexham Glyndwr University paid £227,000 for former vice-chancellor Michael Scott in 2013/14.

But between July 2014 and July 2015, the same university spent £490,000 on the pay of Mr Scott and former interim vice-chancellor Graham Upton.

In 2015/16, it paid £331,000 for Mr Upton and its current vice-chancellor Dr Maria Hinfelaar, who took up her post in April 2016.

Mr Upton was paid £270,000 through an agency between August 2015 and March 2016, while the current vice-chancellor Dr Maria Hinfelaar was paid £61,000.

In 2015/16, the outgoing vice-chancellor of Cardiff Metropolitan University Prof Tony Chapman received a package worth £276,000, an increase of 15% on the previous year.

The vice-chancellor of Bangor University Prof John Hughes received a 7.5% pay rise over the same period, taking his salary to £245,000.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Cardiff Metropolitan University saw vice-chancellor pay increase by 15%

A spokesman for Aberystwyth University said the substantive salary of the post of vice-chancellor "is in line with or below competitor higher education institutions in the UK".

"All payments relating to the departure of the vice-chancellor were as a result of the obligations of employment law", he added.

Wrexham Glyndwr University said the institution faced a "challenging period" in 2014/15, "which included the installation of an interim management team tasked with returning the institution to a position of financial stability".

"These exceptional circumstances meant there were extraordinary short-term costs," a spokesman said.

The overall cost of the senior management team will fall by 25% from the 2016/17 financial year onwards, the spokesman added.

Image caption Glyndwr University said it had faced a "challenging period"

Cardiff Metropolitan University said the data and circumstances "were a one-off and historical."

Bangor University, which is in the process of cutting 60 posts, confirmed that the rise last year was the first the vice-chancellor had received from the university's remuneration committee since his appointment in 2010, although he would still have received an annual pay rise.

A spokesman for the institution said his salary "remains well below the UK sector average" and that Welsh universities "operate in a competitive UK and international marketplace".

The University and College Union said that it "never ceases to amaze us that, when it comes to senior salaries, there is a rush to inflate the salaries by significant amounts year on year".

The Welsh Government said the Education Secretary Kirsty Williams "has made it clear to universities that there should be restraint in senior pay and there should also be a focus on the lower end of the pay scale".

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