Inflation-busting pay rises for bosses of University of East Anglia and Norwich University of the Arts

Professor John Last, principal of Norwich University of the Arts. Photo: Bill Smith

Professor John Last, principal of Norwich University of the Arts. Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Archant © 2012

Norfolk's universities have defended the five-figure salary rises paid to their vice chancellors in a year when most of their staff received a 1pc increase.

UEA vice chancellor Professor Edward Acton. Photo: Bill Smith

UEA vice chancellor Professor Edward Acton. Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Archant © 2013

Last year's increases for Prof Edward Acton, of the University of East Anglia (UEA), and Prof John Last, of the Norwich University of the Arts (NUA), also came as tuition fees rose to up to £9,000 per year.

Mr Last's salary and benefits increased by 13pc from £131,000 in 2012 to £148,000 in 2013. The university also made pension contributions of £18,000 in 2012 and £21,000 in 2013. Mr Acton's salary and benefits increased by 8.6pc from £209,000 in 2012 to £227,000 in 2013.

However, he left the Universities Superannuation Scheme in April 2012 and the university made no contribution to his pension in 2013, compared to £21,000 in 2012, meaning his overall package fell by £3,000.

A spokesman for the University and College Union said: 'We were told a number of times by university leaders in recent times that these big pay rises were a thing of the past and there's no money in the system, and embarrassingly this shows that is not the case.'


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He praised the principal of Queen Mary University of London and the vice-chancellor of City University London, who turned down pay rises. Simon Gaskell, of Queen Mary, left the Universities Superannuation Scheme after changes to tax relief thresholds for higher earners, but chose not to take the employers' pension contribution as a cash addition.

A UEA spokesman said: 'The remuneration committee will have taken a number of factors into account in determining the size and make-up of the emoluments package, including the international standing of the University of East Anglia – a world top 1pc university, and the university's rapid ascent in the domestic league tables.

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'Though the VC has clearly led the university during a period of significant improvements, his total emoluments as published in the university's accounts have fallen every year since his appointment.'

A NUA spokesman said Mr Last's pay rise was not connected to the institution gaining university status last year, but his pay was benchmarked against other small specialist institutions, and the increase brought his salary into line with other similar institutions.

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