SNP conference condemns Coastguard closures

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By a Newsnet reporter

Stuart McMillan MSP has today (Saturday) been given unanimous support from the SNP Spring Conference in Glasgow with his on-going battle with the UK Government’s planned cuts to the Coastguard services in Scotland.

Clyde and Forth Coastguard stations are earmarked for closure and Aberdeen would be downgraded as part of plans which the UK Government hopes will save £7.5m per year by closing ten coastguard stations across the UK.  Mr McMillan has grave concerns about the dangers that will face tourists and regular users of the busy waterways affected.

Mr McMillan, SNP MSP for West Scotland, has spearheaded the opposition to the Coastguard cuts introduced Calum Murray and Irene Reid, two members of Clyde station – the busiest in Scotland and third busiest in UK – to the SNP Spring Conference in Glasgow.

Speaking at the SECC, on the banks of the Clyde in Glasgow, Mr McMillan said:

“It is a real honour to have two members of Clyde Coastguard here at Conference in Glasgow – the work they do is second to none and they are a real asset to the west coast of Scotland.

“Local knowledge of our rugged coastline is the key to our highly valued Coastguard services who keep the waters safe for millions of users every year.

“It is ridiculous that the Clyde Coastguard staff members who are set to lose their jobs are now being asked to train the Belfast unit who will now be expected to cover hundreds of miles of the west coast of Scotland’s busy coastline. How can you teach 20 years of local knowledge?

“Closing coastguard stations down including Clyde is a short-sighted and dangerous move which puts saving money over saving lives.

“Despite the consultation period being over it is not too late for the UK Government listen to the growing number of voices saying that this must be reversed.”