National Trust plans 1,200 redundancies due to Covid-19 losses

30 Jul 2020 News

Hilary McGrady

Credit: National Trust

The National Trust has put 1,200 jobs at risk of redundancy as part of a plan to deal with financial losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The charity, which opened a consultation about with staff yesterday, said in a statement that it expects to lose £200m this year, after closing all its houses, parks, shops and cafes in response to the crisis.

It said that as a result, it needs to save £100m. In addition to cutting jobs, this will mean reduced spending on travel and office costs, switching from print to digital marketing, and renegotiating contracts.

The charity says it hopes to emerge from the crisis “leaner and more flexible”.

Furlough and emergency loans

The National Trust is one of the UK’s largest charities, with an annual income of over £600m and more than five million members.

The charity confirmed that it has 9,500 salaried staff. It has £309m in free reserves, according to the latest accounts filed with the Charity Commission

It has already accessed the government's furlough scheme for up to 80% of its staff, and also taken out an emergency coronavirus loan from the Bank of England.

The National Trust had previously announced that it was stopping or deferring conservation projects worth £120m, as well as introducing a recruitment freeze, to try and reduce costs.

'We need to act now'

Hilary McGrady, director general at The National Trust, told staff in an email: “It’s with huge regret that I am telling you today about the need to cut jobs.

“The Trust’s strength is its people. Our institution has survived so long – through two world wars and a number of economic downturns – thanks to staff, volunteers and supporters.

“We would not be making these savings had we not exhausted every other possibility. We need to act now to ensure we are sustainable in the future.”

'It is deeply upsetting to face losing colleagues'

McGrady also said: “We are going through one of the biggest crises in living memory. All aspects of our home, work and school lives, and our finances and communities, have been affected, and like so many other organisations, the National Trust has been hit very hard.

“The places and things the National Trust cares for are needed now more than ever, as the nation needs to recuperate and recover its spirit and wellbeing. Our focus will remain on the benefit we deliver to people, every day.

“We have reviewed our spending and ways of working to ensure we emerge from this crisis in a strong position to keep on protecting and caring for places so people and nature can thrive.

“It is deeply upsetting to face losing colleagues, and we are committed to supporting all of those affected. Sadly, we have no other course of action left open.

“In making these changes now, I am confident we will be well-placed to face the challenges ahead, protecting the places that visitors love and ensuring our conservation work continues long into the future.”

The consultation period with staff will last 45 days, with a final decision on staff cuts due after that.

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