A vice-chancellor at a university that has cut dozens of jobs has spent tens of thousands of pounds on international business travel – some of it with a colleague who was his lover.
New analysis reveals that Bill Rammell, of Bedfordshire University, racked up nearly £44,000 on first or business-class air fares over three years, including flights to a conference in Miami.
The revelations will add to the growing clamour over the pay and perks of the leaders of the UK’s universities as students face rising tuition fees and debt.
Former Labour Education Minister Mr Rammell, 57, came under fire after it emerged he had travelled to China and Miami with Helen Bailey.
The 49-year had been promoted from a £60,000-a-year head of performing arts to become a £100,000-a-year executive dean just before they began their relationship.
Bill Rammell, 57, pictured, came under fire after it emerged he had travelled to China and Miami with Helen Bailey
Married Mr Rammell, whose annual salary is £230,000, admitted his affair with Professor Bailey in October 2013.
However, he said their relationship had begun soon after her promotion, so had not influenced her appointment.
It emerged the pair jetted off together on four trips to China and one to Miami in 2013 and 2014 along with a third member of staff – at a total cost of more than £30,000.
Documents obtained by The Mail on Sunday show that Mr Rammell’s business-class Virgin Atlantic flights to the three-day Miami Going Global university conference in April 2014 cost £3,977 and his bill at the Riviera South Beach hotel added up to £586.65. The total travel cost for three people was £9,959.
Another participant in the Going Global conference, which was hosted by the British Council and included poolside and beach parties and a cruise on a yacht, was Wendy Purcell, the former vice-chancellor of Plymouth University.
Married Mr Rammell, pictured right, whose annual salary is £230,000, admitted his affair with Professor Bailey, pictured left, in October 2013
She flew business class at a cost of more than £3,500 and stayed at the ‘luxury boutique’ Shore Club Hotel, a favourite haunt of celebrities such as Naomi Campbell and Robert De Niro.
Another high spender on international travel is Bangor University’s vice-chancellor John Hughes, who has spent nearly £30,000 in first or business-class air fares since 2013.
The Mail on Sunday revealed earlier this month that Prof Hughes lives in a house bought for him by the university for £475,000. The property has also undergone renovations costing a further £267,000.
Other universities that have splashed out on business and first-class travel include Middlesex, Sheffield and Warwick, which racked up £45,000 in the 2015-16 academic year alone.
There has been growing disquiet over fat cat university bosses enjoying salaries of up to £450,000 a year while enjoying lavish perks.
One of his trips was in Miami’s South Beach. Documents obtained by The Mail on Sunday show that Mr Rammell’s business-class Virgin Atlantic flights to the three-day Miami Going Global university conference in April 2014 cost £3,977 and his hotel bill added up to £586.65
Universities forked out more than £2.2 million on luxury flights for their vice-chancellors between 2013 and last summer, according to figures obtained by the University and College Union (UCU).
Last week, The Mail on Sunday disclosed that vice-chancellors are living rent-free in lavish properties worth more than £60 million in total while universities are raising tuition fees to £9,250.
The UCU said: ‘Vice-chancellors have spent years holding down staff while seeing their pay rocket and enjoying first-class travel. The lack of embarrassment at this largesse only enhances the view that there is one rule for those at the top and one for the rest.’
Universities UK said: ‘It is necessary for university leaders to regularly travel overseas to forge international links and to promote their universities.’
Bedfordshire University said it had imposed no compulsory redundancies and the staff’s international travel brought ‘significant income and benefits’ to the university.
It added that Mr Rammell travelled business class.