National Trust

National Trust—UK's largest conservation charity—to cut 1,300 jobs

The coronavirus-hit heritage body looks to save around £100m through redundancies

The west front of Petworth House in West Sussex, England, which is owned by the National Trust © National Trust

The National Trust has announced plans to cut 1,296 jobs after the biggest redundancy consultation process in the 125-year history of the UK conservation charity. The trust says that 514 compulsory redundancies and 782 voluntary redundancies will help make savings of around £100m in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement posted online, the trust says: “In July, we announced that job losses and budget cuts were inevitable after almost every aspect of the charity’s income was hit by the coronavirus crisis. We proposed making almost 1,200 compulsory redundancies, saving £60m of our annual staff budget. But following a wide-ranging consultation with affected staff, the number of compulsory job losses has reduced by half.”

Under the new restructuring plans, the organisation will also retain roles focused on helping children learn, keep curation specialists across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and increase buildings maintenance roles. The move comes after the proposed axing of education services sparked outrage with trust volunteers accusing the charity of excluding deprived schoolchildren from its properties, according to the Guardian.

The redundancy announcement also follows a furore around the National Trust’s recent vision document, Towards a Ten Year Vision for Places and Experiences, which art historian Bendor Grosvenor called “one of the most damaging assaults ever seen on the UK’s art historical expertise”. In a blog post written by John Orna-Ornstein, the National Trust’s director of culture and engagement, said that the claims were “based on leaked documents… We actually want to do more with the most important built heritage and collections in our care.”

In the past two months a number of London museums have also announced planned staff cuts due to loss in revenue brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. These include the Victoria & Albert Museum, Tate, the Royal Academy of Arts and the Southbank Centre.