MCA receives more than 1000 public responses

Coastguards have been gagged from talking to a committee set up to investigate cuts to their services.

Many coastguards are angry at plans to cut the number of 24-hour rescue stations from 18 to three.

But shipping minister, Mike Penning, said that allowing the disgruntled to talk to the Transport Select Committee would ‘encourage individuals to express personal views that may be at odds with their personal obligations under their terms and conditions of employment’. In other words it would be inappropriate for coastguards, as civil servants, to speak out against the government.

The committee’s chairman, Louise Ellman, said: ‘After making such efforts to encourage coastguards to develop and submit alternative proposals, it seems to me highly unusual to prevent them from talking about the proposals.’

Earlier this week the Daily Telegraph reported that the committee had put the proposals on hold and some of the coastguard stations set for the chop could be reprieved.

However, the MCA has denied both of those suggestions. A spokesperson for the agency said that, after its public consultation ended on May 5, a review team, headed by its non-executive director, was looking at more than 1,000 responses that had been received.

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