THE vice-chancellor of Bournemouth University is under fire for taking a 20 per cent pay rise when his staff received one per cent.

Professor John Vinney drew pay and benefits worth £305,000, according to a report by the University and College Union (UCU).

Prof Vinney enjoyed the third largest individual pay hike in UK universities. The university was criticised in 2014 for giving him a 19 per cent rise.

Stuart Bartholomew, vice-chancellor of Arts University Bournemouth (AUB), received a four per cent increase to take his package to £217,534, although the rise consisted of pension contributions.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: “Staff and students at the University of Bournemouth might be surprised to learn that the vice-chancellor enjoyed an inflation-busting pay rise of 20 per cent at a time when staff pay is being held down and student fees are set to rise. Unless the government steps in, we believe some vice-chancellors will continue to spend public money and students’ fees with impunity. The huge disparities in the levels of pay at the top expose the arbitrary and secretive nature of senior pay and perks in our universities.”

Prof Vinney earns 6.7 times the average salary at the university, which has four other staff paid more than £100,000.

The report shows the university spent £5,627 on air fares for the vice-chancellor – none of which were first class or business class – and £1,224 on hotels, with £1,127 on personal expenses.

Mr Bartholomew was paid 6.3 times the average salary at AUB.

AUB spent £3,919 on his air fares, 88 per cent of which were first class or business class, as well as £3,139 on hotels and £677 on personal expenses.

A Bournemouth University statement said: “Professor John Vinney received a pay rise in 2016, and a non-consolidated performance related payment, both set by the university’s independent remuneration committee, to reflect his leadership of BU.

“His basic salary remains in line with the average salary when compared across the sector.”

A statement from AUB said: “The salaries of all senior staff are determined by the senior staff remuneration committee of the board of governors – made up entirely of independent members of the board – who follow the Committee of University Chairs procedures in determining salaries and with regard to comparability data particularly that available from UCEA (Universities and Colleges Employers Association). We should also note that the rise in the total emolument reflects a change to the employer’s pension contribution, and not a salary increase.”

The average salary for a vice-chancellor was £277,834, the UCU found.

The vice-chancellors of Bournemouth’s two universities are the best-paid public servants locally.

Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals chief executive Tony Spotswood is paid £190,000-£195,000 in salary and fees; Poole Hospital chief executive Debbie Fleming £170,000-£175,000; Dorset chief constable Debbie Simpson £172,358; Dorset County Council chief executive Debbie Ward £149,000; Bournemouth Borough Council boss Tony Williams £164,345 in salary and pension benefits; and Borough of Poole chief executive Andrew Flockhart £126,190.