Report: Government abandons Coastguard cuts

The Times reports that stiff opposition from coastal communities and Tory MPs led to rethink

The Government has abandoned controversial plans to halve the size of the Coastguard and cut the opening hours of those stations that remained, according to a report in today’s Times.

The newspaper claims that transport secretary Philip Hammond has decided to “redesign the planned overhaul” after meeting stiff opposition to the plans from coastal communities and Tory MPs.

The Government announced the plans to severely cut back the number of Coastguard stations and staff in December. Under the proposals, 19 Coastguard stations around the coast would have been cut to five, with only four of those open round the clock. Staff numbers would have fallen from 596 to 370 over four years.

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But according to the report, several more stations will now be kept open, and plans to replace lost local stations with two centralised national stations have also been scrapped. There will now be only one national centre, the newspaper said.

A Department for Transport spokesperson told MBY the Times report was just “speculation” and that the department would not comment before the results of a consultation on the proposals is released.

The newspaper quoted a Whitehall source as saying: “This was never going to save much money and was originally a Labour plan. There is a need for reforming the service… but we do not need to go as far as the original consultation suggested.”

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