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UCU backs government calls on vice-chancellors' pay

27 May 2010 | last updated: 11 December 2015

UCU welcomes business secretary's comment on university bosses' pay but warns government that universities are already doing 'more for less'

UCU today backed calls from the Business Secretary, Vince Cable, for vice-chancellors' pay to be reviewed but said he was wrong to call for the university sector 'to do more for less'. Responding to comments made in today's Daily Telegraph the union said that Mr Cable was right to attack the pay of university bosses, whose salaries and benefits rose by almost 13 per cent last year.

However, UCU warned that the UK higher education sector is already doing more with less, with UK universities receiving 10 per cent less public funding than the OECD average. The union pointed to the fact that while countries such as Germany, France and the US are investing money in education, the UK is making cutbacks.

Higher education is facing cuts of more than £1billion after the government announced additional savings of £200million on Monday and UCU warned that the UK's role as a leading player in the global knowledge economy was being put at risk.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'Vince Cable is right to single out vice-chancellors who have enjoyed whopping pay rises at the same time as they have tried to keep staff pay down. We have been warning about this for years and their exorbitant rises make a mockery of their oft repeated claim that "we are all in this together".
 
'Vice-chancellors' pay, however, must not be used an excuse to ask the sector to do more for less.  UK higher education already receives fewer public funds than many of our competitor nations. Rival countries are increasing the number of graduates to compete in a high-skill knowledge economy and we cannot afford to be left behind.
 
'We have to get away from this notion than universities can be run on the cheap. Making thousands of staff redundant through swingeing cuts and denying thousands a place at university will damage our global academic standing.'

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