Funding hit University of Leeds defends £100k+ earners

Six-figure salaries have been paid to 26 members of staff at a Leeds University, the Yorkshire Evening Post can reveal.

The University of Leeds employees, mostly thought to be senior management – picked up paypackets of between 100,000 and 279,000 in the year 2008-09.

Vice-chancellor Michael Arthur is believed to have earned around 250,000 but he was not the institute's top earner – that person, who has not been identified, took home between 270,000 and 279,999.

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In the same year, 10 staff at Leeds Metropolitan University earned over 100,000, including controversial former vice-chancellor Simon Lee, who pocketed a total of 329,000 before leaving in July.

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In comparison, Prime Minister Gordon Brown earned 192,414.

The University of Leeds is facing strikes by lecturers next week as it attempts to save 35m to cope with funding cuts which could lead to up to 700 job losses.

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Mark Taylor-Batty, joint secretary for the University and College Union (UCU) at the institution, said: "There's a certain amount of justified indignation about the people calling for these job losses that are paying themselves that."

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A University of Leeds spokesperson said: "The range of salaries reflects the size and complexity of the organisation and the fact that we seek to recruit the best academic talent from around the world."

In light of the funding crisis, senior management at both universities have agreed to go without pay rises this academic year.

Running a university can be compared to running a private business and

figures from the institutes' accounts show academics are being remunerated comparably with professionals in the private sector.

Russell Group universities like Leeds pay their vice-chancellors a premium for managing the research-intensive, internationally-renowned institutions, taking into account factors such as performance and the wages of those in similar roles.

The number of staff earning six-figure incomes rose in all but a handful of UK universities between 2007-08 and 2008-09.

However, the University of Leeds bucked the trend, reducing its big earners from 29 to 26.

The number of high earners at Leeds Met rose from seven the previous year.

A Leeds Met spokesman said: "As the university continues to develop its strategic plan as an enterprising and innovative university, we will continue to recruit and appoint the best individuals possible to enhance the reputation of the institution."

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