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Hey Big Spender! UCL student newspaper on Michael Arthur’s time at Leeds

December 5, 2013

Oscar Webb

The Cheesegrater

The incoming UCL Provost has expensive tastes. In the last six years, Professor Michael Arthur, who will replace Professor Malcolm Grant in September, has charged the University of Leeds, where he is currently Vice Chancellor, over £70,000 in accommodation, entertainment and other expenses.

Professor Arthur has been staying in some of the world’s most expensive hotels on the university’s budget, including the Ritz-Carlton in New York and the Chesterfield in Mayfair, London. The average price of his hotel room has amounted to £228 per night over the past six years. Professor Arthur claimed £618 for a one-night stay in the Russell Hotel London in 2007. His hotel bills have cost Leeds on average £7,000 annually since 2006, more than double what the current UCL Provost claimed for his accommodation in the last financial year.

The University of Leeds has also picked up a large tab for Professor Arthur’s ‘institutional entertaining’. On one occasion, the Vice Chancellor and one guest enjoyed themselves at the Cinnamon Club London, the university picking up the £350 bill. At other times, Professor Arthur and corporate guests have dined at Le Cirque, New York, on the University’s account.

The Vice-Chancellor has apparently also charged the university for his private meals during business trips, claiming hundreds of pounds for restaurant bills in New York. These expenses were referred to as ‘restaurants’ in the University of Leeds’ document obtained by this magazine; there was no indication that these expenses were for corporate entertainment. At various other times the Vice-Chancellor has claimed money for ‘subsistence’, on one occasion claiming £52 for a restaurant meal in Sydney.

Professor Arthur’s salary has increased by more than 60 per cent in the last eight years, from £170,000 in 2004 to over £280,000 in 2012 – these figures are before pension contributions and expenses. Like the UCL Provost, the Leeds Vice Chancellor’s university residence is paid for by the university free of charge. 

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