Landowners receive cash subsidies while charity staff struggle on low wages
DEDICATED National Trust staff are stuck on miserly wages because cash is being squandered on subsidies to aristocrats, a trade union claimed yesterday.
In true outdated Downton-style, the Trust is feathering the nests of those upstairs while failing to provide a decent income for their workers downstairs.
The Prospect union revealed that landowners who signed over their estates to the Trust controversially still receive cash handouts from the charity — and are allowed to live in the mansions rent free.
Union official John Stevenson said the situation was a “slap in the face” to thousands of staff told by bosses that there’s no money to pay them a living wage.
He told the Star: “The wage rates don’t reflect the skills and level of experience that people have.
“The Trust will argue that it doesn’t have the money but their business model is fundamentally flawed.
“They are still working on agreements signed up to 70 or 80 years ago with former landowners. They’ll get a subsidy of some description and they’ll live there rent free.
“Its not protecting places of historic interest, it’s providing benefit for the aristocracy.”
Mr Stevenson said the Rothschild and Curzon families are among the super-rich clans benefiting from the deal.
Richard Curzon, son of Lady Scarsdale, still lives at Kedleston Hall mansion in Derbyshire despite it being handed over to the Trust in 1989.
The Trust also runs Ascott Park on behalf of the Rothschilds, who have made their fortune through the corporate banking group of the same name.
Prospect said payouts to those families are leaving highly-skilled workers “reliant on state hand-outs, food banks and charity to survive”
Around a quarter of the National Trust’s 12,000 staff are stuck on the minimum wage, the union revealed as the Living Wage week got underway yesterday.
It is calling on bosses of the respected heritage body to commit to paying a living wage to all workers at the Trust’s annual general meeting in Swindon on Saturday.
But the National Trust said: “Eighty three per cent of our regular employees are already paid above the new Living Wage rate of £7.65 per hour and we will continue to monitor the situation to ensure our pay rates remain fair and competitive.”