Coastguard service reduced

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A Westminster committee has reached a deadline for written submissions which look at plans for the future of the coastguard service by the UK government.

The Transport Committee continues its inquiries on proposals for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) to shut down 10 of the 18 UK centres.

This would affect Scotland by reducing five 24-hour centres to one, with a second open in daylight hours. The Government coalition said these plans were about modernisation and not cuts.

There is a separate consultation underway which ends on May 5. There would be three 24-hour centres planned across the UK including Aberdeen, Dover and the Southampton/Portsmouth area. The five sites that remain would operate during daylight and would be Swansea, Falmouth in Cornwall, Humber, either Belfast or Liverpool, and either Stornoway or Shetland.

This decision could see the loss of up to 250 jobs nationwide by 2014. The committee findings will be considered by the UK government as part of the discussion on the MCA proposals.