Page last updated at 16:12 GMT, Wednesday, 20 May 2009 17:12 UK

National Trust rethinks cut plans

Hugh Miller's House (Pic: Undiscovered Scotland)
Hugh Miller Museum and Birthplace Cottage has been saved

Redundancies at the National Trust for Scotland have been reduced from a previously planned 91 to 65 full-time jobs after talks with staff and unions.

Among its seasonal staff 46 jobs are to be cut, with 16 other posts in doubt.

Fewer properties are also now likely to be affected as the trust looks to make cost savings across its sites.

But Hutchesons' Hall in Glasgow, Leith Hall in Aberdeenshire, Ben Lawers visitor centre and Hill of Tarvit Mansion House in Fife are to close.


We have done the right thing to safeguard our 130 properties

Kate Mavor
NTS chief executive

Decisions on the future of the David Livingstone Centre in Blantyre, Barry Mill in Angus and Inveresk Lodge Garden in East Lothian remain to be taken.

The trust said fundraising had won Arduaine Garden in Argyll a reprieve for at least a year.

Haddo House in Aberdeenshire, Kellie Castle in Fife and Hugh Miller Museum and Birthplace Cottage in the Highlands are to stay open.

In March, NTS anticipated 91 full-time staff having to go.

Following consultation with staff and the Prospect union, the trust said there would be 44 compulsory redundancies and 21 voluntary redundancies.

SAVED, CLOSING, GONE
Sixty-five full-time posts are to be axed
Four properties that were in doubt have been saved
Seasonal staffs' hours this season have been cut and 46 redundancies are to be made

There have been cuts made to the hours of seasonal staff - which over a season can peak at 800 people.

This area of the workforce will also see 46 redundancies, which includes 15 going voluntarily.

The future of a further 16 seasonal posts depends on the outcomes of decisions on some properties.

NTS chief executive Kate Mavor said the organisation was now in a more financially secure position.

She added: "Our primary concern is the protection of our Scotland's heritage for future generations.

"We have done the right thing to safeguard our 130 properties to allow us to focus on our world-class conservation work."

'Long-term viability'

North East Fife Liberal Democrat MSP Iain Smith condemned the decision to close Hill of Tarvit Mansion House.

He said: "There will be considerable consternation and anger in North East Fife that the National Trust for Scotland is pressing ahead with the proposed closure of Hill of Tarvit Mansion House.

"Rather than working with the local community to develop a new business model to ensure the long-term viability of this significant and historic house, they have chosen the short-term and short-sighted option of closure.

"As the National Trust will still have to meet maintenance and preservation costs for the mansion and its important collections, it is questionable whether this is a financially sound decision.

"The loss of this important tourist venue is also bad news for the local economy at what is already a difficult time."

Earlier this year, the BBC Scotland news website reported on the weight of support for Hugh Miller's Cottage.

Alan Owen, president of the Geological Society of Glasgow, said it would be a "terrible loss" if it had to shut.

Geoscientist Magazine's Ted Nield and geology magazine Deposits also called for the museum to be saved.

Highland SNP councillor Craig Fraser launched an online petition to save the museum.



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