Doubt over future of coastguard closure plan

Picture: Habibur Rahman

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GOVERNMENT plans to close coastguard centres may be scaled back, it has emerged.

Under proposals, the current base at Lee-on-the-Solent would close to make way for a new, bigger one in the Portsmouth or Southampton area.

But Commons Leader Sir George Young yesterday said the government was having another look at the plans.

He said: ‘The review of the service is something that was started under the previous administration. The government is reluctant to comment on speculation. We will be having another look at the reorganisation proposals and we will reveal our conclusions before the summer recess.’

It is not known whether plans to build a new 24-hour control centre for the Solent area, which still could be based at Lee-on-the-Solent’s Daedalus site, will be affected.

The union which represents coastguard workers has said the possibility of a U-turn showed the power of campaigning.

General secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union, Mark Serwotka, said: ‘This is a body-blow for the government which is reeling from public outrage at ill-thought out plans.

‘It is not yet clear what any new proposals will include. We would expect new plans to be subject to proper consultation and negotiation.

‘The campaign against these cuts has been inspirational and I am proud of the part our reps and members have played in it.’