National Trust for Scotland chief defends widespread cost-cutting

Kate Mavor addresses MSPs in Holyrood

The chief executive of the National Trust for Scotland has appeared before a group of MSPs to defend a widespread cost-cutting programme that will include making 65 of the charity's staff redundant.

Kate Mavor addressed the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee at Holyrood yesterday to explain why the charity had been forced to make the cutbacks.

She told MSPs the trust had been "living beyond its means for many years, relying too heavily on its reserves and reducing them to an unacceptably low level".

The recession meant the charity was unable to increase its income to compensate for this, so it set up a redundancy programme and decided to close some loss-making properties.

The cutbacks have reversed the decline in the charity's reserves, which are expected to grow in 2010/11. The trust's costs are now in line with its income and it will make further savings by relocating its headquarters, Mavor told the committee.

Mavor also said the charity's governance structure was cumbersome and "does not sit well with the Charities Scotland Act 2005". She said a governance review was scheduled for 2010.

Third Sector reported last week that a group of National Trust for Scotland members had called for Shonaig Macpherson, the charity's chair, to stand down immediately and for all of its trustees to stand for re-election because the charity was not transparent enough.

Macpherson announced on 1 September that she would stand down in September 2010


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