The Herald reports:
The UK Government was last night accused of putting lives at risk as expectations grow that it will announce the closure of more than half of Britain’s coastguard centres and the privatisation of the nation’s search-and-rescue helicopter service in a bid to cut costs.
The Department for Transport – facing spending cuts of 15% over four years – is due to propose reducing coastguard stations from 19 to eight and only three will operate around the clock. The move could see 250 jobs lost and save £7.5 million a year.
In another cost-saving exercise, Philip Hammond, the Transport Secretary, is expected to press ahead with plans to privatise the search-and-rescue helicopter fleet, operated by the RAF and Royal Navy together with civilian helicopters through the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.