I’m worth my £365,000 salary, says Cambridge chief
THE new vice chancellor of Cambridge University has said he is not prepared to take a cut to his £365,000 salary, in defiance of warnings over excessive pay.
Professor Stephen Toope described his pay packet, which is more than double that of Theresa May, as ‘reasonable, given the scope of the job’ and has suggested colleagues should take a similar stand.
He said senior salaries were an issue for the entire sector rather than for individuals but hoped there would be no broader move to cut vice-chancellors’ pay to silence critics. He said: ‘I think it is not a good idea, to be frank, because what it does is reaffirm the sense that the UK is not operating in the open market for global talent.’
His comments come after universities minister Jo Johnson warned institutions will be fined if they are unable to justify paying their vice chancellor more than the £150,402 earned by the Prime Minister. The average vice chancellor salary is £257,904, which critics have said is inappropriate when student fees have risen to £9,250 per year.
Those who started studying this autumn will leave their courses with debts of £50,800 on average.
But Professor Toope, 59, who is Canadian, said yesterday that the role of a modern vice-chancellor was ‘relentless’ and the money was well deserved. He told The Times: ‘People don’t understand how a vice chancellor’s job has evolved. ‘I am essentially responsible for £1billion a year turnover, 11,000 employees, 19,000 students, and am in the lead to complete a £2billion fundraising campaign ... while being responsible for operations and the entity of the university.’
But Robert Halfon, Conservative chairman of the education select committee, said yesterday: ‘Vice chancellors have got to stop defending the indefensible. There is no reason why they need to be paid significant amounts more than the Prime Minister.’