National Trust: Re-structure and potential redundancies, from Hilary McGrady

The National Trust is proposing £100m of annual savings – ‘likely to lead to 1,200 salaried staff (approximately 13%) being put at risk of redundancy’ – following impacts from the coronavirus crisis, after warning almost every aspect of its income has been affected, with issues outlined in a letter to supporters from Director General Hilary McGrady.

Hilary McGrady writes:

Dear Supporter…

With much sadness I am writing to let you know that, today, the National Trust is opening consultation on proposals that are likely to lead to 1,200 salaried staff (approximately 13%) being put at risk of redundancy. We will also need to reduce our budget for hourly paid staff.

Like so many organisations, the Trust has been hit very hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Almost every aspect of our income has been affected and we estimate we have lost £200 million in revenue this year alone. As a result, we have drastically reduced our spending for the year and used some of our unrestricted reserves. Like many organisations, we have also accessed furlough, loan and grant schemes. However, we need to reduce costs further.

Today’s announcement is part of a savings programme designed to ensure the Trust can withstand the crisis and changed economic conditions and can continue to deliver on its charitable purpose. Having to lose colleagues we value is very difficult, but redundancies are sadly necessary. The cost reductions follow a decade that saw the Trust almost double in size and returns our workforce to 2016 levels.

We have been careful to ensure that our conservation work is protected with a limit on cuts to jobs that entail caring for houses and collections, gardens, nature and countryside. I am confident that we have designed the programme in a way that will allow us to continue to deliver our core mission and ensure visitors to National Trust places continue to have the wonderful experiences they have come to expect from us.

The ambition we set out in January, our renewed focus on caring for nature, beauty and history, becoming carbon net zero by 2030 and improving access to nature in towns and cities, remains strong, but with such significant financial losses we will have to be more flexible in how we achieve it. We expect to work more in partnership with other charities and with local communities, and to fundraise more in the future. At a time of climate crisis, it’s essential that conservation charities make the case for donations of money and time, so the nation can face up to the challenges ahead.

Our purpose remains clear, to provide benefit to our nations and to bring people closer to nature, beauty and history. That was the vision of our founders 125 years ago and it remains undiminished today. To achieve it we need now to adapt to the changing world around us….

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