National Trust planning to cut 1,200 jobs due to Covid-19 crisis

The National Trust is considering 1,200 redundancies due to the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Lockdown through the pandemic forced the closure of the charity’s houses, gardens, car parks, shops, cafes as well as the cancellation of holidays and events “resulting in losses of tens of millions of pounds for the charity”, according to a statement to its members.

The charity is expecting to lose up to £200m as a result of the outbreak and is planning to make £100m of annual savings, a fifth of its yearly spend.

Cutting the workforce is key to the cuts, with 1,200 jobs at risk. Proposed redundancies are being discussed with the union Prospect and subject to a 45-day consultation period.

Meanwhile, around £40m of the savings will be through non-pay spending cuts, including reducing travel and office costs.

Print and marketing will be reduced in favour of digital, contracts are to be renegotiated and the National Trust plans to reduce IT spend and introduce “more efficient processes” to manage areas of the charity.

“To help us get through the short-term impacts of the crisis we also furloughed the majority of our staff, drew on the Bank of England’s emergency coronavirus loan scheme, and we’re reviewing other rescue and stimulus packages being offered by the government,” said the National Trust.

The charity has already stopped or is deferring £124m of projects and put in place a recruitment freeze.

“It’s with huge regret that I am telling you today about the need to cut jobs,” said National Trust director-general Hilary McGrady in the charity’s statement to members.

“The Trust’s strength is its people. Our charity 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.”

National Trust ‘hit hard’

McGrady added: “We are going through one of the biggest crises in living memory. All aspects of our home, work and school lives, 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 public needs to recuperate and recover their 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.

‘Deeply upsetting’

"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 charity says that while some form giving has reduced it has seen an increase in online and text donations in recent months and will step up its fundraising around environmental protection.

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