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Oxford University spent £38,339 on vice-chancellor’s expenses in academic year

An Oxford University spokesman said: “All the expenses were incurred on official university business.”

Oxford University has spent tens of thousands of pounds on expenses for its vice-chancellor since her appointment last year.

Figures show that in the last academic year alone, travel, accommodation and hospitality costs for Professor Louise Richardson totalled just over £38,000.

This is less than the expenses bill for her predecessor Professor Andrew Hamilton for his final full year in the role.

But information published previously indicates that significantly more was spent by the prestigious university on some expenses, such as flight, than the average for university bosses across the UK.

Data obtained by Oxford’s student newspaper Cherwell shows that the university spent £30,818 on Prof Richardson’s travel, accommodation and hospitality between her taking up the post in January last year and July 2016.

For the last full academic year (2016/17), the bill came to £38,339.

In 2014/15, Prof Hamilton’s expenses came to £44,289.

A breakdown shows that in 2016/17 alone, Prof Richardson’s air travel came to £29,969, plus £1,349 for other travel expenses such as trains and taxis.

Between January and July 2016, the figure was £27,115 for all forms of transport, including £26,553 for air travel.

During the whole 19-month period, Prof Richardson took 26 round-trip flights.

Data published by the University and College Union (UCU) earlier this year, based on information from 137 institutions, showed that in 2015/16, the average flight expenditure for vice-chancellors was £7,762.

Oxford also spent £6,601 in 2016/17 on accommodation for Prof Richardson, along with £3,392 between January and July last year.

UCU’s figures show that average spend on hotels for UK university bosses in 2015/16, based on information from 135 universities, was £2,982.

Oxford also spent £311 between January and July last year, and a further £420 in 2016/17 on subsistence and hospitality for its vice-chancellor.

Queen Elizabeth II and The Duke of Edinburgh present a Royal Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education to Professor Louise Richardson (Yui Mok/PA)

Expense figures for Prof Hamilton for 2014/15 include £36,172 for travel, £7,563 for accommodation and £556 for hospitality.

An Oxford University spokesman said: “All the expenses were incurred on official university business. Expenditure on Professor Richardson’s travel has been kept to a minimum and is below that of previous years.

“For example, the vice-chancellor flies economy class on short-haul journeys such as flights to Europe or within the US. Train journeys are normally in standard class.

“Examples of her duties including flying to China to sign an agreement with the Chinese Academy of Medicine, to Tokyo to sign an agreement on the prestigious Kyoto Prize and meetings on the continent with other heads of Europe’s 23 leading research universities.”

Travelling to raise funds, establish global partnerships and recruit talented academics has always been a “core part” of the Oxford vice-chancellor’s job, the spokesman said, adding that her predecessors also travelled widely.


From Belfast Telegraph