UNIVERSITY of Bolton bosses have hit back at claims it is one of the UK’s least transparent.

Trade union University and College Union criticised the university stating it was one of 24 establishments to refuse to provide details of their bosses’ pay and perks in response to a Freedom of Information request submitted by it.

But the university said the request could constitute an "improper use" of the FOI Act as the information is already in the public arena.

A University of Bolton spokesman said: " Every year this university publishes the number of all those staff who are paid over £100,000. In the case of the Vice Chancellor we also include salary details and benefits in kind as well as pension contribution. All this information is available to the public on our website under financial statements.

"We would suggest that this UCU request is an improper use of the FOI Act which specifically excludes information already in the public domain."

The UCU claims that 'university vice-chancellors’ pay and perks have long been a source of frustration for staff and government ministers with huge sums of public money going on healthy salary increases, first class trips around the globe and other bizarre expenses.'

It added that 'greater sanctions were needed to ensure universities like Bolton justified some of the largesse that has embarrassed higher education in recent years'.

The call came as the government consults on whether or not to exempt universities from freedom of information legislation.

The union says it will be releasing its latest pay and perks survey on Thursday.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: "Freedom of Information legislation is important in holding universities that spend millions of pounds of public money to account. It is not acceptable that universities like Bolton refuse to share this information. The full extent of universities’ spending on pay and perks for their bosses may make uncomfortable reading for some, but that does not give them the right to escape scrutiny."