Bath University’s Dame Glynis Breakwell was at one point the highest-paid university vice-chancellor in the UK. But the backlash against her £468,000 pay eventually led to her resignation.
For Sale, Lansdown Crescent is arguably the most sought after of all Bath’s Georgian crescents due to its elevated position overlooking the city. One of only seven complete houses, No. 16 has elegant proportions, gracious reception rooms, a large garden and ample private parking.
16 Lansdown Crescent is a classical townhouse with well-proportioned rooms on each floor giving the property a sense of space and light. Whilst needing some cosmetic updating, the house is well presented with period features such as high ceilings, stone flags, magnificent large sash windows and many others.
The university is selling the building for £2.95m. It bought it for £1.6m in 2002. The vice-chancellor also benefited from expensed staff housekeeper costs, which were £8,738 in 2016, according to the Bath Chronicle. (In a style favoured by the late 18th century gentry, the townhouses were originally designed to accommodate servants).
The sale metaphorically captures the operational synergies universities generate through their simultaneous exposure to real estate in their own cities or towns, and fees paid by flows of students who rent or buy properties in the same market, or remain in the same place upon graduation. In a gold rush, sell shovels, but also own the mine.
From 2014 to 2017, according to a Halifax study of university towns and cities in the UK, house prices in Bath rose by 30 per cent — the fourth-fastest rate of change in the country over that period. This is one reason many large investors specifically target real estate in areas with university exposure. Bath also benefits from fringe commuterability-to-London.
Bath university’s entire surplus was £6.8m last year, on income of £288m. In the UK, universities, as charities, do not make profits. The university’s income predominantly comes from loans the government makes to students, or research and funding body grants from government and non-government sources.
In its latest annual report, the university laid out its logic behind the salary for its new vice-chancellor, which involves “market data” and “comparison with universities of similar scale, complexity and ranking”:
The Remuneration Committee determined a remuneration package which included a basic salary range which compared to the staff median of 7:1 to 8.2:1; comparator Universities being in the range 7:1 to 10:1. Given that other elements of the remuneration package sit at the lower end of provision across the sector the agreed basic salary of £266k (a ratio of 7.9:1) sits in a comfortable position within the range.
The remuneration historically received by Dame Glynis Breakwell needs to include the imputed rents on the property. At a yield of 5 per cent of the 2002 purchase price, this amounts to £60,000 a year, at the very least.
We were considering the possibility that this package in total would make you the highest-paid indirect government employee in the country. But then we recalled the existence of Help to Buy.