Tower of London Beefeaters, established in 1485, believed to be facing their first mandatory redundancies
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The Tower of London’s iconic Beefeaters are believed to be facing their first mandatory redundancies since the group’s establishment in 1485, The Guardian reported Monday. 

Historic Royal Palaces, the charity that oversees the Tower of London and five other United Kingdom locations, is seeking to reduce costs as it’s expected to experience a deficit of more than $112 million this year amid the coronavirus pandemic. Historic Royal Palaces spent more than $57 million on paychecks in the past year. 

Two Beefeaters, the ceremonial guardians of the Tower, have reportedly opted for voluntary redundancy. But other non-voluntary job cuts are now likely as the charity attempts to decrease wage costs to less than about $34.3 million, according to The Guardian.

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King Henry VII founded the yeoman warders of the Tower, known as the Beefeaters, in 1485.

The five other palaces in London and Northern Ireland run by the charity are also facing layoffs, as it does not expect overall visitor numbers to return to 2019 levels for years. 

Royal Palaces now projects making less than $14 million this year after originally predicting before the pandemic that it would raise more than $125 million. 

Currently, about 800 people go to the Tower of London per day compared to 15,000 on summer days in the past. With social distancing protocols, the tower can hold about 1,000 people at once. 

The charity’s staff have already been given a 20 percent pay cut from July to October.

John Barnes, chief executive of Royal Palaces, told The Guardian it relies on visitors for 80 percent of its income.

"The closure of our six sites for almost four months has dealt a devastating blow to our finances, which we expect to continue for the rest of the financial year and to be compounded by the slow recovery of international tourism,” Barnes said. “We urgently need the public to support us by visiting our sites now they have reopened.”

“We have taken every possible measure to secure our financial position, but we need to do more to survive in the long term,” he added. “We simply have no choice but to reduce our payroll costs.”