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Historic Royal Palaces has announced it has entered into a period of consultation on proposed redundancies. The charity runs Kensington Palace, the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Banqueting House, Kew Palace and Hillsborough Castle and Gardens.
In a statement released on Monday, Historic Royal Palaces said it had forecast income of £110 million at the beginning of the year.
But after being forced to close its six sites during the lockdown, the charity now expects this to be slashed by 89 percent to just £10 million.
The statement said: “It is with deep regret that we announce today that Historic Royal Palaces has entered into a period of consultation on proposed redundancies.
“At the beginning of this year, like so many other organisations in our sector, we could never have imagined we would be in this position.
“We were forecasting income of £110 million and looking forward to a busy year of exhibitions and events.
“However, as an entirely self-funded charity, we have been particularly badly hit by the pandemic – both by the closure of our six sites for a prolonged period and by the major downturn in international tourism.
“We are now forecasting income of around £10 million this year – a reduction of 89 percent.
“We expect our recovery to take several years, and that means we must plan to live within half our usual income.
“We have no choice but to take measures to reduce our costs.”
Up to 145 roles are at risk of redundancy and final decisions will be made after the 45-day consultation.
John Barnes, chief executive of Historic Royal Palaces, said: “At every stage of this crisis, we have tried to limit the impact of the financial challenges on our staff, who care passionately about the palaces and our work.
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“If we are to continue this work, we must act now to reduce payroll costs and make the charity financially sustainable.
“We are privileged to be the guardians of six remarkable places, but the dedicated team who care for them are the spirit of our charity, and we are deeply sad that it has come to this.”
Kensington Palace, the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace and Hillsborough Castle have reopened with social distancing measures in place but Banqueting House and Kew Palace remain closed.
The announcement of redundancies prompted a devastating reaction on social media.
One Twitter user wrote: “Heartbreaking news! You do such wonderful work.”
Another said: “I have bought my yearly pass, how else can we help? Can you set up crowd funding page or give me link to share? This is heartbreaking.”
A third commented: “How sad on a personal level for the staff but sad for the far wider national and international community to lose out on such a bank of knowledge and expertise.
“Our door to culture, heritage and history just got smaller. And we will be much the poorer for it.”
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