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National Trust to axe up to 1,200 jobs to save £100 million

PUBLISHED: 10:31 30 July 2020 | UPDATED: 12:20 30 July 2020

Oxburgh Hall. Pic: Archant library.

Oxburgh Hall. Pic: Archant library.

Archant

The National Trust, which has stately homes across Norfolk, is making redundancies as it faces £200m losses this year.

Blickling Hall 

Picture: Mark BullimoreBlickling Hall Picture: Mark Bullimore

Following the impact of the coronavirus crisis, the Trust which owns visitor attractions such as Blickling Hall in Aylsham, Felbrigg Hall, near Cromer and Oxburgh Hall near King’s Lynn, announced a savings plan.

It is not yet known whether jobs will be affected in Norfolk.

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Hilary McGrady, director-general of the National Trust. Pic: National TrustHilary McGrady, director-general of the National Trust. Pic: National Trust

Director-general Hilary McGrady said: ‘It’s with huge regret that I am telling you about the need to cut jobs. 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. We’ll grow back stronger.”

She added: “Like most organisations, we’ve been hit hard by the effects of the coronavirus. When the country went into lockdown we closed all our houses, gardens, car parks, shops, cafes, holidays and stopped events, quickly losing tens of millions of pounds of support.

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“As part of the review, we hope to save £100m – almost a fifth of our annual spend. Nearly 40 per cent of the proposed savings (£40m) will be non-pay spending cuts, including reducing travel and office costs, reducing marketing and print spend in favour of digital, renegotiating contracts, reducing IT spend and introducing more efficient processes to manage key areas of the charity.

“We’ve already announced we’re stopping or deferring £124m of projects, and have introduced a recruitment freeze to reduce staff costs. We are going through one of the biggest crises in living memory...the places and things the National Trust cares for are needed now more than ever. 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.”

Staff will enter into a 45 day consultation period.

The National Trust owns 330 properties across the UK and is 125 years old this year.

History

The National Trust acquired its first house in 1907 but it wasn’t until the 1940s that more were left in people’s wills in order to avoid them falling into disrepair if they couldn’t be passed on to a family member. However such were the enormous costs involved, it was decided in the 1930s that properties could only be handed over to the trust along with endowments to help pay for them. But in 1937, Parliament enabled the National Trust to make money from its properties by allowing it to accept additional property, cash or securities. One of the first to do so was Philip Kerr who, in 1941, bequeathed Blicking Hall along with its contents, more than 100 other houses and cottages, and more than 4,700 acres of woodland. It’s not easy for the trust to sell off its properties; it would require a debate in parliament, however it does generate income from letting its smaller acquisitions such as cottages on estates.


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