National Trust and National Trust for Scotland rule out merger

Charities gave 'serious consideration' to the move, trade union Prospect reveals

The National Trust and the National Trust for Scotland have ruled out a merger after a trade union revealed the two had discussed the matter.

Prospect, which represents staff at the conservation charities, said it had seen a letter from the National Trust for Scotland that showed "the board had given serious consideration to a merger with the National Trust".

Alan Denney, national secretary for Scotland at Prospect, said the news came as a "bolt from the blue" and would be a bad move. "Such a merger would leave the National Trust for Scotland as the significantly junior partner," he said.

Denney also criticised Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond for not doing more to help the troubled Scottish charity, which is laying off 90 of its 500 staff.

"It would be cruelly ironic in this Year of Homecoming if the lack of government support meant that the newly acquired Robert Burns Birthplace Museum ended up as a subsidiary of the National Trust, run and managed from Swindon," he said.

A spokesman for the National Trust said: "It is one of those things that people discuss every now and then, but there have never been any serious talks about a merger and there are certainly no plans for that conversation to go forward."

In a statement, the National Trust for Scotland said it had "considered many options, including a closer partnership with other organisations in the sector" to secure its finances.

It added: "No formal proposals are currently on the table and there is no plan to involve the National Trust in England."

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