Coastguards Fear Job Cuts

A consultation's going on over plans to reduce the number of sites from 18 to 8 - to save around 80 million pounds.

The Government says the changes will modernise the service. There's no word on how the Maritime and Coastguard Agency's HQ in Southampton will be affected.

A Tory MP said she wanted to avoid the "fiasco" that occurred over plans, now scrapped, to close fire control centres and replace them with larger regional ones.

Separately, Britain's search-and-rescue operations are set to be privatised, which would see RAF, Navy and Coastguard crews replaced by pilots employed by a private firm in a multi-billion pound deal.

Prince William is a fully-qualified search and rescue helicopter pilot with the RAF.

David Cameron said "I totally understand the need for good air sea rescue. I think that what matters is not necessarily who is carrying it out but are they fully qualified, is it a good service and is it value for money. That is what we want to make sure happens."

"There are proposals to try and put more on the frontline by sharing back office services and the way that we coordinate the Coastguard."

"I know there are very strong local feelings. What is essential is that we have really good Coastguard coverage for all of our country."

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