I’m worth my £365,000 salary, says Cam­bridge chief

Scottish Daily Mail - - Life - By Eleanor Harding Ed­u­ca­tion Cor­re­spon­dent

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.’

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