UK Politics

Liberal Democratic Party: New search and rescue contract must guarantee improvement in services says Carmichael

Press Release   •   Feb 10, 2010 09:43 GMT

“It is essential that this contract is better negotiated and has fewer loopholes than the interim contract we had for the last few years," said the Liberal Democrat Shadow Scotland Secretary.

Commenting on today's announcement by the Government about a new search and rescue helicopter contract, Alistair Carmichael said:

“It is essential that this contract - which is to run for 25 years - is better negotiated and has fewer loopholes than the interim contract we had for the last few years.

“The new contract must protect against situations like the one which arose in 2008, where the back-up helicopter based at Sumburgh was taken off station for a whole week. Despite this leaving the north of Scotland without local cover in the winter months, the Department for Transport and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency were powerless to do anything about it.

“We also need to see the new service rooted properly in the communities which it serves.  It is not good enough to see a constant stream of temporary pilots and support officers being shipped in and out again.”