Merged age charity to shed 300 jobs

Age Concern England and Help the Aged combination attempts to save £10m

The charity formed this month by the merger of Age Concern England and Help the Aged is to shed 300 posts.

The cuts, which were announced to staff yesterday, are part of an attempt to save £10m. They represent more than 10 per cent of the merged charity's 2,750-strong workforce.

Tom Wright, chief executive at the yet-to-be-named charity for older people, said a three-month consultation with staff and unions was under way.

He said he did not yet know how many people would be made redundant but the effects would be mitigated by the fact that 125 posts were currently either vacant or filled by temporary staff.

"We are suffering from the economic crisis as much as anyone else," said Wright, who was previously chief executive of tourism organisation Visit Britain.

He said legacies were a particular concern and the charity expected income from this source to fall by 20 per cent this year compared with the income the organisations had generated in their last year of operating separately.

Rachael Maskell, national officer for trade union Unite, said news of the cuts had come as a huge shock to the workforce. "We will be fighting to protect people's jobs," she said.  

Maskell said the announcement, less than a week after the new charity had officially launched on 1 April, was premature and seemed premeditated.

 "Now is the time to try to build the organisation, not make redundancies," she said.

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Age Concern England

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