THE National Trust for Scotland's £3.8m government bailout has been welcomed by a trade union.

Prospect said the move is "vitally important" as it will help to protect nearly 200 critical jobs and will allow NTS to retain countryside and ranger services, as well as curation and education jobs.

The package will help 33 heritage sites to reopen this month, an increase from the 27 originally planned.

The funding comes with the condition that NTS works with the Scottish Government to consider the long-term sustainability of its operations and review its business model for future challenges.

Richard Hardy, Prospect national secretary for Scotland, said: "The work of our reps and members has substantially reduced the potential redundancies at the National Trust for Scotland.

"The announcement of £3.8m funding from Scottish Government is most welcome. The assistance is conditional on sites re-opening and more jobs being saved, a key ask from Prospect, that was vitally important.

"However over 200 staff still face redundancy and we will continue to do all we can to assist them."

READ MORE: National Trust for Scotland awarded £3.8m government bailout

NTS has been badly affected by Covid-19 and was forced to close properties which has resulted in a lack of income from membership, investments and fundraising.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: "This has been a deeply difficult time for staff at National Trust for Scotland. Since the difficulties at the Trust emerged, I was absolutely clear that any support from Government would be to support jobs.

"The severe impact of the pandemic means that unfortunately not all jobs can be saved but this funding will go far to protect as many critical roles across the National Trust for Scotland estate as we can.

"The funding will also ensure that some sites proposed for long-term closure by National Trust for Scotland can instead be reopened, and enjoyed once again by communities.

"The NTS is responsible for promoting and protecting many of Scotland's most important natural and built sites, which are crucial to our heritage and tourism sectors.

"Many issues remain, however I am committed to working with the new leadership to ensure the Trust is in a better position to continue this vital work in Scotland."