Snowdonia National Park job cuts planned as budget reduced

Snowdon The national park covers 823 sq miles of land, mostly in Gwynedd

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Job cuts are planned at Snowdonia National Park Authority as it looks to save £872,000 over two years.

Staff have already been invited to apply for voluntary redundancy but further posts are expected to be axed.

The park's chief executive said there was a huge financial challenge with "very difficult and painful decisions".

Welsh government grants to the authority have been reduced by 8.75% in 2014/15, with a possible further 4.31% cut in 2015/16.

Snowdonia National Park Authority employs 160 staff with head offices at Penrhyndeudraeth near Porthmadog.

The authority's budget for the next two years is expected to be agreed at a meeting on Wednesday morning.

It is not known exactly how many jobs would be cut but applications for voluntary redundancies are being sought with eight people asking to be considered.

Increased charges

Staff also face a change to their terms - such as a removal of shift allowances and a move to annualised hours - which would save an estimated £134,000.

The unions said that annualised hours - where staff work a certain number of hours over the whole year - would mean "deep cuts" for staff at the Plas Tan y Bwlch educational centre and a "big reduction" in staff wages.

Major savings are also proposed by restructuring departments - such as the natural environment and forestry service - and outsourcing some work.

There are plans to boost income by increasing charges for schools using Plas Tan y Bwlch, and increasing charges at car parks from £4 to £5, except at Pen y Pass.

The authority's tourist information centres also face major changes with ideas including a transfer of ownership or closures.

The national park covers 823 sq miles (2130 sq km) of land, mostly in the county of Gwynedd but also stretching into Conwy.

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