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National Trust secures rescue package

 

The Scottish Government has given the charity £3.8m to save jobs, but more than 200 roles are still set to go

Around 200 jobs are set to be saved after a heritage charity received emergency funding.

The National Trust for Scotland (NTS) has received £3.8 million from the Scottish Government to help save jobs at attractions across the country that have been closed by Covid-19.

The funding will secure nearly 200 critical jobs and will allow NTS to retain a broad range of expertise in countryside and ranger services in addition to curation and education.

Nonetheless, 188 compulsory redundancies and 44 voluntary redundancies are still set to be made as the charity battles through the crisis. Heritage sites across the country were closed at the start of lockdown and many will not open for the foreseeable future.

The package will also support the reopening of 33 heritage sites this month, rather than the 27 the trust originally planned.

The funding comes with the condition that NTS works with the Scottish Government to consider the long-term sustainability of its operations and review its business model for future challenges. The NTS has been badly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and was forced to close properties which has resulted in a lack of income from membership, investments and fundraising.

Culture secretary Fiona Hyslop said: "This has been a deeply difficult time for staff at National Trust for Scotland. Since the difficulties at the trust emerged, I was absolutely clear that any support from government would be to support jobs.

"The severe impact of the pandemic means that unfortunately not all jobs can be saved but this funding will go far to protect as many critical roles across the National Trust for Scotland estate as we can.

"The funding will also ensure that some sites proposed for long-term closure by National Trust for Scotland can instead be reopened, and enjoyed once again by communities.

"The NTS is responsible for promoting and protecting many of Scotland's most important natural and built sites, which are crucial to our heritage and tourism sectors. Many issues remain, however I am committed to working with the new leadership to ensure the trust is in a better position to continue this vital work in Scotland."

National Trust for Scotland chief executive Phil Long said: “I want to offer my profound thanks to the Scottish Government and particularly to cabinet secretary Fiona Hyslop. The trust has faced the worst crisis in its 90-year history.

“The cabinet secretary’s task group with Scottish Enterprise enabled us to produce a plan that showed, with help, that the trust could endure as a charity, continuing to care for Scotland’s heritage and contributing to our society and economy.

“My joy at this announcement is tempered by the fact that the devastating effects of Covid-19 mean we still must say goodbye to friends and colleagues. I wish it were not so, but redundancies are unavoidable, although this support helps keep them to the absolute minimum.

“Through consultation on emergency measures we received invaluable advice from staff and others on functional expertise we must retain. Consequently, we’ve come up with a resilient operating model to weather continuing uncertainty and, through support from government and many individuals, enable us to look forward.”

Prospect national secretary for Scotland and Ireland Richard Hardy said: “Prospect very much welcomes the Scottish Government’s £3.8m support package. As a union we have campaigned hard for such an intervention, and we pay tribute to our reps, members and the public who have kept the situation at the trust very much at the forefront of the news. We welcome the government and trust’s decision to use the money to support earlier re-opening of properties, and the saving of jobs that will ensue. At the end of the day however, we cannot and should not lose sight of the fact that over 200 people are still losing their jobs and this is bad news for the economy, for heritage and for Scotland.”

 

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