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Tuesday, 15 February 2011

UK Coastguard Budget Cut as EU Membership leaps to £118 Billion Per Year

Coastguard Budget Cuts to “Save £7.5 Million” Per Year as EU Membership leaps to £118 Billion Per Year

The government’s budget cuts for Britain’s coastguard service will “save” £7.5 million a year, while the cost of membership of the European Union has rocketed to in excess of £118 billion per year.
The 15 percent budget cut to the Department of Transport’s coastguard control centres will see the number of such units reduced from 19 to 8, with only 3 offering 24 hour cover.
Currently the Coastguard’s search and rescue helicopters consist of Royal Air Force Sea Kings and civilian helicopters arranged through the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).
An earlier proposal to privatise that part of the service has been put on hold after serious “irregularities” in the tender process were identified.
Nonetheless, the government is still pushing ahead with the wholesale closure of coastguard control centres, claiming that the process will “modernise” the service.
The government’s cutbacks have imperilled much of the coastline and Britain’s borders. For example, the proposal will leave Scotland – which has nearly two-thirds of Britain’s coastline with only one full-time watch station.
In the South West of England, another important shipping hotspot, four emergency tugs, stationed around the coast to tackle maritime emergencies, will be cut in September this year.
According to maritime union Nautilus, prospect was "deeply worrying" for the "vulnerable" Devon and Cornwall coast. "Ships are bigger than ever before, operating with fewer crew than ever before and carrying more and more complex cargoes," Andrew Linington, a spokesman from Nautilus was quoted in the media as saying about the South West cuts.
"To be cutting back of maritime safety measures in those circumstances we believe is dicing with danger."
Many of the threatened resources had been introduced for "good reason" after specific incidents, including the rescue tugs, brought in after the Braer and Sea Empress tanker disasters, he added.
The same story has been repeated up and down the coastline, with local communities warning of the dangers of cutting this vital service.
Cutting the coastguard threatens lives and the environment, many experts have warned, adding that the supposed savings will easily be dwarfed by the first big emergency which strikes as a result of these services have been cut.
The £7.5 million “saving” is made even more bizarre when it is considered that Britain pays over £118 billion per year to the European Union (a figure supplied by the Taxpayers’ Alliance).
Even that figure is due to increase over the next few years as Britain’s contributions to the EU increase exponentially as that organisation expands even further.
It is little short of a mystery how the politicians in Westminster can justify spending these huge amounts of money on the EU and simultaneously make cuts to the safety and security of Britain’s coastline – unless, of course, it is presumed that they are just traitors.
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