Fears over Hill House fu­ture as own­ers cut staff

Lennox Herald - - NEWS -

mem­ber­ship re­cruit­ment and prop­erty vis­its.

NTS said its in­come from all sources is fore­cast to col­lapse by £28m this year and to fall again in 2021 even if cur­rent re­stric­tions are re­laxed, while this does not in­clude es­ti­mated in­vest­ment losses of £46m due to stock market con­di­tions.

Si­mon Skin­ner, chief ex­ec­u­tive, said: “The ex­treme and un­prece­dented public health emer­gency has put the char­ity’s fu­ture in doubt.

“This is de­spite us run­ning the trust in a fi­nan­cially pru­dent way, build­ing up our re­serves and lat­terly tak­ing crit­i­cal de­ci­sions at the out­set of this cri­sis, re­duc­ing our ex­pen­di­ture to a min­i­mum, fore­go­ing the re­cruit­ment of sea­sonal staff, ter­mi­nat­ing tem­po­rary and fixedterm con­tracts and fur­lough­ing a large pro­por­tion of our per­ma­nent staff.

“With some level of re­stric­tions likely to ap­ply post-lock­down and hav­ing ef­fec­tively missed the busiest part of the vis­i­tor sea­son, I see lit­tle prospect of us be­ing able to re­turn to more nor­mal lev­els of mem­ber­ship, visi­ta­tion and in­come for the rest of this year and beyond.”

He said that as well as the 429 posts men­tioned, a fur­ther re­view of back of­fice func­tions is un­der way, mean­ing more posts could be at risk.

Staff were told the news on Mon­day last week and NTS is open­ing a for­mal con­sul­ta­tion with trade union Prospect.

Mr Skin­ner added: “Some peo­ple may not care that a char­ity is in trou­ble or see her­itage as hav­ing lit­tle im­por­tance just now - but if the trust goes down then what will be lost will im­pov­er­ish Scot­land for­ever.

“The birthright of gen­er­a­tions yet to come may be de­nied to them if this gen­er­a­tion doesn’t do what’s needed to save it.”

David Avery, Prospect ne­go­tia­tor, said: “This is a huge blow to work­ers at NTS who will be ex­tremely wor­ried about their fu­tures.

“We will do all we can to sup­port mem­bers and ar­gue strongly for the re­ten­tion of jobs.”

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