The British Council has started planning a redundancy consultation, potentially resulting in 2000 jobs being cut. The action follows a drop in funding from the government.
The public body announced last week it would have to cut 15-20 per cent from the organisation over the next two years due to the financial impact of the pandemic. This will include cuts to jobs and estates.
Yesterday, it told the Public and Commercial Services Union that it would start formal consultation on cuts to English teaching and marketing.
The British Council is funded by its own income and grants from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). Due to the pandemic, it was forced to shut 44 of 47 English language schools and 195 of 223 language test centres, cutting off its main source of income.
The move decimated the British Council’s finances. It was later given emergency funding from the FCDO to stay afloat on the basis of future “structural reform”.
While the government increased funding in some areas, it also reduced its grant in aid by 11 per cent for operations in certain countries. The overall cuts and drop in income has resulted in a £10m shortfall for the British Council.
As such, the organisation will be forced to introduce the cuts but said “where it is still viable to do so, we aim to continue existing teaching or exams operations” in affected countries.
Kate Ewart-Biggs, British Council interim chief executive officer, said: “I am confident for our long-term future and believe that the changes we are making will respond effectively to the changing needs of our customers, clients and partners to ensure that the British Council continues to make a positive contribution in the world and a place where people can thrive.”