National Trust plans 1,200 job cuts as a result of the coronavirus pandemic in bid to save £100 million

The National Trust is planning to make 1,200 staff redundant as it looks to save £100 million in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Wednesday, 29th July 2020, 4:58 pm

The conservation and heritage charity, which has sites across the North East including Penshaw Monument in Sunderland and Cragside House in Northumberland, said it has lost almost £200 million as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, which shut all of its houses, gardens, car parks, shops and cafes, and stopped holidays and events.

The trust has 5.6 million members and has saved millions of pounds through furloughing staff, drawing on reserves, borrowing and stopping or deferring projects, but still needs to make savings to keep it sustainable in the long term.

It has proposed £100 million in annual savings, equivalent to almost a fifth of its annual spend, through changes to operations and cuts to staff and budgets.

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Penshaw Monument near Sunderland.

Director general Hilary McGrady said the organisation will continue to care for historic sites, and tackle climate change, loss of wildlife and unequal access to nature, beauty and history.

Some 1,200 salaried staff face redundancy as part of £60 million proposed pay savings - around 13% of the 9,500-strong salaried workforce.

The move, which comes after a decade which saw the National Trust nearly double in size, would bring staffing levels back to what they were in 2016.

The plans also include £8.8 million savings by cutting the budget for hourly-paid staff such as seasonal workers by a third.

The remaining £40 million of savings will be made in areas such as reducing travel and office costs and IT spending, cutting marketing and print spending in favour of digital communications, and renegotiating contracts.

The trust has already announced it is stopping or deferring £124 million of projects this year.

The charity said it is refocusing its efforts to protect cultural heritage, with limited cuts to staff caring for houses, gardens and collections.

There will be a shift from a "one-size-fits-all" approach to properties, with reviewed opening hours at some places and in some cases running a pre-booked guided tour system for visits.

On the redundancies, Ms McGrady 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.

"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."

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