In 2013, the salary of UEA’s vice chancellor, Edward Acton, rose by over eight per cent.

Edward Acton

This five figure raise comes as many workers in Higher Education experience a real terms cut in their wages. The average annual pay in the UK is £26,500. That figure is higher for full time academic staff at UEA which for 2011-12 was £47,309.

A UEA spokesperson said: “The remuneration committee will have taken a number of factors into account in determining the size and make-up of the emoluments package, including the international standing of the University of East Anglia – a world top 1pc university, and the university’s rapid ascent in the domestic league tables.

“Though the VC has clearly led the university during a period of significant improvements, his total emoluments as published in the university’s accounts have fallen every year since his appointment.”

This comes after the exposure of big pay increases for Vice-Chancellors at other universities in the UK.  A survey of Russell Group universities revealed their Vice-Chancellors were given on average over an eight per cent pay increase along with overall benefits packages which were up by over five per cent. Among the academic ‘fat cats’ are the University of Cambridge Vice-Chancellor who was given a pay increase of £20,000 and the Vice-Chancellor of Southampton University who recieved a £19,015 rise.

Haydn Morris, of the Unite union said: “This smacks of rank hypocrisy – given that university staff have endured a six-year pay drought which has seen a 13 per cent cut in pay real terms since 2008.”