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Controversial Bolton University head given 30 per cent pay rise

6 June 2018 | last updated: 8 June 2018

The controversial vice-chancellor of Bolton University, George Holmes, enjoyed a £66,000 pay rise in the last academic year, according to the latest figures.

Times Higher Education reported that Holmes, who made headlines in January when he attended the all-male Presidents' Club dinner where, it was claimed, several hostesses were sexually harassed, was paid £290,215 in 2016-17, up from £224,300 in the previous year, a rise of 29.4 per cent.

Last year Holmes, who drives a Bentley Continental and owns a yacht moored on Lake Windermere, said vice-chancellors should not hide their wealth. The university was the last to release its financial statements, which means its data could not be included in a number of national reports looking at senior pay and perks in universities.

The University of Bolton was outed as one of the country's least transparent universities last year when it failed for a second year to reply to a Freedom of Information request from UCU asking about the vice-chancellor's pay and perks. The vice-chancellor's spending habits and financial arrangements have made national headlines and UCU said the university had a duty to be more transparent.

The news of Holmes's pay hike come on a day when UCU dismissed a new voluntary code to deal with the recent senior pay and perks scandals in universities as "woefully inadequate".

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: 'George Holmes has certainly made the headlines again this year, but not in a manner one would expect to be rewarded so handsomely for.

'The Bolton vice-chancellor has been rightly criticised previously for his embarrassing lack of self-awareness when it comes to his pay and accepting this huge increase will do nothing to combat the idea that vice-chancellors are utterly out of touch.

'It is particularly disappointing that Bolton took so long to release details of his pay package, especially when the university has been cited in previous years for a lack of transparency when it comes to pay and perks.'

The Times Higher Education pay survey showed university vice-chancellors were paid an average of £268,103 in salary, bonuses and benefits in 2016-17 - or £289,756 when pension contributions were included.