A NUMBER of jobs will be lost at a Carmarthenshire tourist attraction due to budget pressures.

The National Botanic Garden in Llanarthne is going through what it says are ‘business improvements and a restructure’ to strengthen the charity for the future, but this is set to lead to job losses.

The news comes after an internal review ‘to guide its strategy to mitigate risks to the Garden going forward.’ This will be done by creating what the gardens say will be ‘significant savings’ and lead to a boost in income.

The proposed changes will see the need for less staff and bosses have carried out an internal consultation.

The review and changes have come due to cost pressures over a number of years which previously have been mitigated with a number of successful business turnaround including complex European funded scientific projects, however, the effects of the pandemic and cost-of-living crisis alongside ‘significant’ rises in the National Minimum Wage have created pressures that the garden’s bosses say cannot be sustained under the current structure.

Dr Lucy Sutherland, director at the National Botanic Gardens, said: “We have been working with staff to explore all options including schemes for reduced working hours, and consideration of voluntary redundancies and compulsory redundancies.”

Chair of trustees Mr Gary Davies highlighted: “The Garden has prepared a new strategic plan that will be delivered in 2024, which will strengthen the organisation in the short term and help it grow into the future.

“One of the immediate short-term aims will be to fill around 40% of the shortfall next financial year through diverse income generation strategies to engage ever wider audiences and partnerships. The plan will also focus on streamlining and going back to basics and being true to its charitable objectives of science, conservation, and lifelong learning.”

The news has been called ‘distressing’ by local county councillor Ann Davies – who is also the Plaid Cymru candidate for the Carmarthenshire seat in the forthcoming general election.

“This is very distressing news indeed for staff at the garden, which is in my ward, although sadly not unexpected. It’s just one of several national institutions who’ve suffered a 10% cut in funding by the Labour Welsh Government, which in turn is being starved of funding by the Tory UK Government.

“It is also worrying news for all of us who regard the Botanic Garden near Llanarthne as an important national institution and a jewel in the heart of rural Carmarthenshire.

“As I live very near the Garden, I’ve seen it being transformed from open farmland to the major attraction it is today.

“It’s a place of international significance and renown, with the largest single span glasshouse in the world. It has rare and threatened plants, in addition to being an important employer and attraction. Its future and the jobs of those who work there must be protected.”