Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson and Crosby campaigner vow

Bill Esterson

Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson said he was continuing to fight to secure a future for Crosby's Coastguard Station - despite indications that the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Government want it shut down.

The Tory-Lib Dem government have drawn up plans to slash the number of the country's coastguard stations from 19 to eight.

The Crosby station was originally left off the consultation document, but quickly added after Labour MPs raised concerns about the closure.

It is now pitched against Belfast's Coastguard Station for survival.

Speaking after reading the latest risk assessment on the plans, the Sefton Central Labour MP said it still appeared as though the government had made up its mind.

Bill Esterson said: "This Conservative-Liberal Democrat government is doing all it can to prove that this shambolic consultation process is above board. But so far, all we have seen is evidence that Liverpool Coastguard Station based here in Crosby is set for closure.

"Although the government quickly back-pedalled and assured us that Liverpool was still in the running, this latest risk assessment document does little to prove that.

"While this report goes into detail about the benefits of keeping Belfast open, Liverpool would appear to be an afterthought with little regard to the substantial benefits in keeping the Crosby station operational."

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has announced a public meeting to discuss the Tory-Lib Dem proposals, which will be held at Southport Convention Centre, The Promenade on Thursday, March 3 starting at 7.30pm.


Crosby Labour campaigner and candidate for Blundellsands Ward at May's local election Ben Winstanley said he hoped lots of people would attend to put the case for keeping the Crosby station open.

 

Ben said: "The public meeting is the chance for us to make sure that the MCA and the Tories and Lib Dems get to see how much opposition there is to their plans to close Crosby.

 

"I am confident that the people of Crosby and the wider area who benefit from the security of our excellent coastguard staff, will attend the meeting and voice their concerns.

 

"We need to send a direct message back to this government that we will not sit back and allow them to cut a vital emergency service which has saved hundreds of lives.

 

"What the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are proposing for our coastguard service is extremely dangerous and will end up costing lives if we allow it to happen."

 

Bill Esterson agreed and said he was concerned that the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats had made up their mind even before conducting the consultation process.

 

Bill said: "It is clear from listening to the ministers that the government plans have been drawn up without taking into account all of the relevant facts. For instance as well as leaving the Liverpool Coastguard Station off the original shortlist, the government is making its decision without considering the wealth of expertise of the dedicated frontline staff in Crosby.

"It is also clear that closing Crosby would make delays more likely as it would remove vital local geographic knowledge. It seems clear to me that if the government is going to make big changes to services whether in health, the coastguard or elsewhere it really does need to listen to the very many experienced and committed staff who work in those services who have a pretty fair idea of what is needed to improve what they are doing.

 

"After the station was originally saved by John Prescott and the Labour government, the Crosby station benefited from a multi-million pound investment. It is a fully hi-tech, efficient station which has saved hundreds of lives.

 

"The government needs to take stock, listen to staff and to the public and have a complete rethink on this issue. While this Tory-Lib Dem government is rushing headlong into making its cuts, it is cutting frontline and lifesaving services like that at Liverpool Coastguard Station.

 

"I and the Labour Party will continue to oppose this cut and I will do everything in my power to make the government realise they are cutting too far and they are gambling with people's lives."

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