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18 July 2011
Stop Swansea coastguard closure
Coastguards and the people of Swansea are reeling following the shock announcement that Swansea coastguard station is to close, with 28 job losses.
The announcement follows a u-turn by the weak Con-Dem government that has resulted in some coastguard services including neighbouring stations in Milford Haven and Holyhead being saved.
This follows a huge campaign by the PCS union and local campaigners who fought to keep Milford Haven and Holyhead open, with local protests and a 20,000 signature petition sent to David Cameron.
Swansea coastguard service, which under the original Con-Dem plans was due to be downgraded but not shut, now seems to have become an unnecessary casualty in order to prevent the Con-Dems admitting they are a weak government and cuts to public services are not necessary.
Swansea coastguard station is one of the busiest in the UK. It covers one of the largest natural deepwater harbours in Europe and deals with a vast expanse of sea, including an area with three refineries and numerous beaches which have an extensive tourist trade.
It has to rescue an increasing number of people each year.
The Swansea station also covers the Devon coastline and the Bristol Channel.
Last year Swansea coastguards attended more than 2,000 incidents.
This is another example of how the safety of people is being put at risk by the cuts and puts paid to the myth that frontline services will not be affected.
Sian Thomas, a PCS rep who was heavily involved with the Milford Haven campaign, said: "It is brilliant news that Milford and other stations are to be kept open and shows that campaigning does work.
"However the closure of Swansea is unnecessary and dangerous to the people who unfortunately need the coastguard service each year.
"The coastguard service needs more resources, not less, and proves the government's stance on cuts is just an ideological, politically driven excuse to decimate the public sector".
A campaign to save Swansea coastguard service has been set up, including a facebook page.
Carrie Anne Watkins
This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 18 July 2011 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.
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