A subject close to my heart, as I have been known to go messing about in boats occasionally. In July 2011 Transport Secretary Philip Hammond announced to the House that the scale of Coastguard Stations closures had been revised. I can’t believe that any buffoon would think that reducing the number of Coastguard Stations from 19 to EIGHT is a good idea on anyone’s planet. It seems that Mr Hammond agrees with this and has reduced the scale of closures, permitting 11 to remain open instead of the original 8 he had previously announced. The surviving 11 will be permitted to remain open for 24 hours instead of the THREE he had originally proposed.
There is some good news in all of this, and that is that Mr Hammond was prepared to listen and has at least given some ground, but I think that’s all of the good news for now.
The Prime Minister has now entered the fray by conducting a U Turn Par Excellence and claiming that the original date for closures to commence of 2015 was an error and closures will indeed start this year.The sentence indicated would not have made any sense if the date should have read 2012, hence my belief that this is a U-Turn, more evidence that the ConDem coalition can not be trusted.
Apparently the length of the UK coastline is a tad over 7,500 miles. 7,500 miles and 11 Coastguard Stations? Does that seem reasonable? The RNLI is a charity and thankfully is beyond the reach of the government, and for that we must be thankful, but do they not still need the Coastguard to initiate and co-ordinate their rescue missions?
I don’t know the exact number but the proposed number of job losses will obviously be less than the 250 previously announced.
Less than 250 job losses, 8 Coastguard Stations closed, what is all the fuss about?
Well in my mind, the fuss is about saving money. How much money? Apparently the plan is to save a mere £7.5 million per annum. Whilst £7.5 million would be an absolute fortune to me, in the greater scheme of things, in the big corporate bank accounts, is that really a lot of money?
If just 1 extra ship were to be lost as a result of these cost-cuttings, just ONE, how much would that cost? “Is it really anything to do with me?“ I hear you ask. Well, if you take a ferry to France or Spain, Ireland for your summer holidays for example then yes it is. Whilst there are no plans to leave the Straits of Dover without a Coastguard that is not the point. In the event of an emergency you would rely on the Coastguard, take them for granted. Fine, they don’t mind being taken for granted I’m sure, but they need to be there, available.
250 jobs and £7.5 million, please Dave, see sense and scrap this reckless policy. Not everything has to be reformed you know. Some things you can’t afford to be without, and you won’t realise that they’ve gone until it’s too late.
Like everything else in this blog, this is happening NOW. If you don’t like what’s happening lobby your MP; visiting his/her surgery is better than a letter; a letter is better than an e-mail; an email is better than nothing. If you do nothing the ConDem coalition will push through all their changes unopposed and you won’t ever get them back to where they are now.
There is no topic contained within this blog that is not happening now, in 2012. If this worries you, please feel free to circulate this blog on Twitter, Facebook, anywhere you want, just get the message out there.