University bosses criticised for expense claims

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Credit: Caroline C Evans Abbott

Katy Scott
News Editor

Vice chancellor of the University of Glasgow, Anton Muscatelli, has been criticised for claiming expenses totaling £7,370 last year, despite reportedly earning £322,000.

The expenses claimed by the vice chancellor include £2 for a bottle of water and £1,127 for five nights spent at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Singapore.

Mr Muscatelli was paid a salary of £276,000 plus a £46,000 pension contribution for the 2015-2016 academic year.

SRC President Ameer Ibrahim said: “Expenses in relation to work-related activity should be accessible. If there are questions over criteria, this should be reviewed under organisational processes.”

A spokesperson for the University of Glasgow said: “Recent press reports on the Principal’s expenses were, at best, disingenuous. As part of his role Professor Muscatelli travels extensively across the UK and throughout the world. The expenses which he has claimed were all validated and are moderate when compared to other heads of Russell Group universities.”

Vice principal of the University of Glasgow, Frank Coton, claimed expenses for a range of purchases including 30 pence for a road toll in Thailand, 76 pence for a taxi in Thailand and £1,318 for five nights spent in a hotel in New Orleans. A further £1,148.01 was spent on a five night stay in Indonesia.

The University of Glasgow’s Core Expenses Guide requires claimants to include information of additional dinner attendees who have been paid for by the University. However, in a claim for £356.80, Professor Coton described the event as “Dinner at the Bothy” without noting any additional dinner guests.

Regius Professor of Medicine at the University of Glasgow, Dame Anna Dominiczak, charged the University £69 to replace a return train ticket after she had lost the original ticket.

Vice Principal Jonathan Cooper claimed £255.34 for a flight for his colleague and £2.81 to replace lost toiletries. He also claimed expenses totaling £52 for buying wine for his table at the Times Higher Education Awards Dinner in London.

Vice chancellor of the University of Edinburgh, Sir Timothy O’Shea claimed £3.49 for a bus ticket. Sir O’Shea is provided with an executive car and driver.

Vice chancellor of the University of Manchester, Dame Nancy Rothwell, reportedly incurred the highest expenses in the UK with a total of £32,993 – £29,751 of which was spent on travel payments.

In the University and College Union’s annual “Transparency at the Top” report, university vice chancellors are rated on their expenditure in individual categories, including hotel accommodation and airfare. A report released in February 2016 placed Mr Muscatelli 7th for airfare, totaling expenses of £31,300.28 – more than three times the average expenditure of £8,560.37.