AT least 450 staff at Scottish universities are taking home over £100,000 a year at a time when there have been appeals to access a government bailout fund.

New research from the Taxpayers' Alliance found that there was at least 4,122 staff across British universities taking home over £100,000 a year in 2019/20 - a rise of 14%.

Glasgow came fourth in a list of UK universities with the most high earners, with 210 staff paid over £100,000 of which 55 was paid over £150,000. In what they called the University Rich List, Strathclyde came 19th with 63 staff paid over £100,000 and 11 getting remuneration of over 150,000.

The London School of Economics had the most high earners, where 306 staff received over £100,000 in total remuneration, 109 of which received over £150,000.

The group said that the report "highlights there is no correlation between the number of highly paid staff at a university and it achieving excellent student satisfaction rates" questioning universities’ value for money. 

READ MORE: Universities at risk of insolvency without Government bailout amid coronavirus crisis

Ten out of 15 Scottish universities responded to the Taxpayers' Alliance study.

According to the taxpayer rights' organisation, one that was unable to be included was the University of Edinburgh who had the most £100k staff pay packets in the UK poll last year.

The group are concerned that the rise in pay comes after vice chancellors demanded a £2 billion government bailout this spring, and encouraged students to return to university halls in September before teaching then moved online.

In July, the government said universities that accept bailout money from the Department of Education would be "required to make changes that meet wider Government objectives", including “ensuring they deliver high quality courses with strong graduate outcomes” and “reducing administrative costs, including vice-chancellor pay”.

In September, Scottish ministers rejected a UK government bailout to plug the £190 million university funding gap because it would gift Westminster too much control over Scottish education.

Richard Lochhead, Scotland’s universities minister, demanded “maximum support” from the UK government but said he could not agree to a package that allowed its ministers to determine the fate of Scottish universities.

In July, research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies claimed that around a dozen universities could be at risk of insolvency without a Government bailout.

READ MORE: Scottish Government 'cannot afford to bail out universities' as more places to be funded

Analysis for the National Institute of Economic and Social Research by former government adviser Professor Peter Dolton, suggested the worst-case scenario would be that “all universities except Oxford and Cambridge could be insolvent – including Edinburgh” if fears of a cut of up to 75 per cent in overseas students, their key source of income, are well founded.

Scott Simmonds, researcher at the TaxPayers' Alliance and author of the paper, said: "These rankings reveal the thousands of university bosses taking home very plush pay packets despite begging for a covid bailout.

"Taxpayers and students will be left with more than a degree of uncertainty over whether this is money well spent - especially when students are paying a premium to be locked up in halls with no face-to-face teaching.

"Instead of blaming Covid, uni bosses need to get these steep salaries under control and focus on providing students with the very best higher education they can during the pandemic."

The report found that the number of employees who received over £100,000 in total remuneration per UK university is 44. The average number receiving over £150,000 was nine.

In Scotland, the University of St Andrews had 64 staff being paid over £100,000, while Stirling had 36, Edinburgh Napier had 28, Robert Gordon had 23, Abertay had 11, Queen Margaret had 10, and the University of Highlands and Islands had eight.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Scotland’s universities and their research are among the best in the world, they will be pivotal to our economic recovery and it’s important that they are supported through the COVID pandemic.

“We expect universities to exercise restraint in setting senior pay and we expect senior pay packages to be in step with the salary, terms and conditions offered to other university staff. But as autonomous institutions the salary levels of senior staff are a matter for each university.”