The Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals spent 14 per cent of its income from universities last year on lobbying, campaigning and research.
Accounts to be considered for final approval today by the CVCP's main committee show that the committee spent Pounds 465,442 on these activities, against contributions from universities of Pounds 3,184,586. Research and consultancy accounted for most of this spending, running up a bill of Pounds 290,414 - almost Pounds 70,000 more than the previous year.
But the biggest increase in spending came in the committee's political and parliamentary activities, which shot up from Pounds 8,858 in 1996-97 to Pounds 119,128 last year.
In contrast, the cost of the CVCP's higher education funding campaign dropped from Pounds 75,183 in 1996-97 to Pounds 55,900 last year.
Campaigning and research costs amounted to almost half of CVCP expenditure on wages and salaries, which came to just more than Pounds 1 million. One employee earned Pounds 80,000-Pounds 100,000 and two others Pounds 60,000-Pounds 70,000. The committee also spent more than Pounds 56,000 on quality assurance, more than Pounds 33,000 on its commission on university career opportunities, and Pounds 20,436 on the Committee of European Rectors.
Legal costs jumped from Pounds 1,677 in 1996-97 to Pounds 5,248 last year, but the bill for postage, telephone and stationery costs was slashed from Pounds 102,611 to Pounds 63,396. Technology maintenance costs also dropped by almost Pounds 6,000 to just over Pounds 4,000.
Apart from subscriptions, the CVCP's total income of Pounds 3,511,733 - over Pounds 200,000 higher than the previous year - included money from investments, publications, and government investment for the Overseas Research Students Award Scheme.