The provost of University College London is to take an immediate pay cut of 10 per cent and extend a pay freeze for other senior managers for another year.
Malcolm Grant said the decision was taken in response to the “acute financial pressures on Britain’s world-class universities”, after the sector was informed of further cuts of £200 million to the 2010-11 higher education budget earlier this week.
His announcement follows remarks by Vince Cable, the business secretary, who told the Daily Telegraph today that he was “taken aback” when he found out that vice-chancellors’ pay rose by more than 10 per cent in 2008-09.
Mr Cable said there was “some gap between reality and expectations in some of those institutions”, adding that “there has got to be some restraint”.
Steve Smith, president of Universities UK, responded that university heads had shown restraint on pay since the financial crisis struck.
Announcing his decision to take a pay cut today, Professor Grant, who received salary and benefits of £376,000 in 2008-09, said he had already taken a pay freeze since 2008, and had made significant annual donations to UCL, approaching 10 per cent of his salary.
He said: “The government has launched a programme of significant cuts in university budgets, and these risk endangering world-class institutions which contribute billions to the nation’s economy. It is going to take a concerted effort to maintain their global competitiveness, including much tighter housekeeping measures.
“A significant proportion of our overall funding already comes from non-government sources. I am determined that UCL should continue to be one of the UK’s leading universities through financially turbulent times, and maintain its commitment to outstanding education and research.”
Sir Stephen Wall, chair of UCL council, said: “Professor Grant’s salary has always reflected the council’s wish to reward and retain his leadership and dedication. But this is the right thing to do in harsh economic times.”
Cuts to the higher education budget announced since last year now total £1.1 billion.