Historic Royal Palaces considers 145 redundancies to meet £100m Covid-19 losses

Historic Royal Palaces is proposing 145 redundancies as it looks to tackle £100m losses due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The charity, which manages six historic sites including the Tower of London, has begun a period of consultation on the proposed redundancies, which includes a cut of 86 full time equivalent roles out of a total workforce of 1,165. This equates to 145 jobs at risk.

The charity also runs Kensington Palace, Hampton Court Palace, Banqueting House, Kew Palce and Hillsborough Castle.

A final decision on the proposed redundancies will be made after the 45-day consultation period has ended.

“At every stage of this crisis, we have tried to limit the impact of the financial challenges on our staff, who care passionately about the palaces and our work,” said Historic Royal Palaces chief executive John Barnes.

“If we are to continue this work, we must act now to reduce payroll costs and make the charity financially sustainable. We are privileged to be the guardians of six remarkable places, but the dedicated team who care for them are the spirit of our charity, and we are deeply sad that it has come to this.”

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown, which saw its sites closed to visitors, the charity has revised its forecasted income for 2020 of £110m down to around £10m.
The major downturn in foreign visitors is another factor in the losses.

The charity added: “We expect our recovery to take several years, and that means we must plan to live within half our usual income. We have no choice but to take measures to reduce our costs.”

When lockdown started in March the charity stopped all but essential expenditure and has also furloughed workers, as well as dipping into its reserves, “which we expect to be exhausted at the beginning of next year,” added the charity.

Other measures it had taken before the redundancy plan was a recruitment freeze, ending seasonal contracts and “making temporary adjustments” to pay and pensions. Voluntary redundancies has been another measure taken.

“However, further reductions remain necessary as we restructure the charity to withstand the challenging years ahead,” said Historic Royal Palaces.

Heritage and culture

The heritage and culture sector has been particularly badly hit amid the pandemic due to a dramatic fall in visitor numbers.

Last month Second World War codebreakers charity the Bletchley Park Trust announced it was looking to cut its workforce by a third.

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