OXFORD'S universities have defended the six figure salaries paid to their vice chancellors as the government announced new measures to restrict pay.

Minister Jo Johnson will force universities to publish details of all staff earning more than £100,000 and the ratio of its highest paid employee compared to the median salary.

Institutions will also have to offer written explanations if chiefs are paid more than the £150,000 earnt by the Prime Minister.

A new watchdog, the Office For Students, is being set up to scrutinise the ever-increasing levels of pay in the sector.

Oxford University's Vice Chancellor Louise Richardson took to the airwaves to defend her £350,000 salary.

The 59-year-old told the BBC that her salary 'should be seen in a wider context' and it was modest compared with colleagues in the United States.

Oxford's first female vice chancellor said that she is paid the same as her male predecessor Andrew Hamilton.

The vice chancellor of Oxford Brookes, Alistair Fitt is one of the worst paid vice chancellors in the country but still earns £233,300 a year.

Natalie Gidley, a spokesperson for the university, said: "The University’s remuneration committee meets annually to determine the remuneration of the senior staff appointed by the Board of Governors.

"The Vice-Chancellor plays no part in determining his own remuneration.

"The University remains committed to being transparent about pay of its senior staff and will await further detail on proposals announced today in relation to this."