A NORTH-EAST university has been named among the top 10 in the UK with the most staff taking home salaries higher than £100,000.
A study, which has investigated the amount of money spent by each university on staffing, has found Durham University is among those paying out the highest salaries.
But defending the findings, Durham University said “competitive salary packages” are essential to its operations to “attract and retain outstanding individuals.”
Led by the TaxPayers’ Alliance, who submitted Freedom of Information requests to universities across the UK, Durham University ranked ninth for highest salaries.
The study said that the university was paying 156 staff members more than £100,000 per year, and a further 24 staff members more than £150,000.
The data was collated from salaries paid by universities in the 2019-20 financial year and universities’ accounting year.
The figures include salary, performance related pay in the form of bonuses, pension-related payments and ‘all other payments’.
No other universities in the North-East made the list, but the figures for Durham University were significantly higher than Northumbria University.
The data found that Northumbria University was paying 31 staff members more than £100,000, and a further seven staff members more than £150,000.
The study did not have information on Newcastle University suggesting the Freedom of Information request for this data was unsuccessful.
As the figures were released, the TaxPayers’ Alliance said that student loan debts had ballooned to £140bn at the end of March 2020.
It said Government forecasts showed student loan debts would reach £560bn by the middle of the century.
Addressing the data nationally Scott Simmons, researcher at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “These rankings reveal the thousands of university bosses taking home very plush pay packets despite begging for a Covid bailout.
“Taxpayers and students will be left with more than a degree of uncertainty over whether this is money well spent – especially when students are paying a premium to be locked up in halls with no face-to-face teaching.
“Instead of blaming covid, university bosses need to get these steep salaries under control and focus on providing students with the very best higher education they can during the pandemic.”
In response, a spokesperson for Durham University said: “Durham University is a world top 100 institution with around 20,000 students, over 4,000 staff and an annual turnover of around £360m.
“Competitive salary packages are essential to attract and retain outstanding individuals in a global market for higher education leadership talent.
“Our Remuneration Committee considers a number of criteria in its deliberations, which include extensive benchmarking across the higher education sector, as well as performance in role. The Committee regularly reviews these criteria.”