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Topic - E-petition: Search and Rescue Privatisation

E-petition here: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/45283

The UK Government is currently looking to replace the existing Search and Rescue (SAR) service, run by a combination of RAF, Royal Navy and Coastguard helicopters, with a privatised version. At the moment the UK Government is seeking companies to tender for the contract. As taxpayers we already pay for the existing SAR service, and if privatised we will pay for the new one as well, albeit the work will be carried out by a private contractor. To me it is a dangerous and unnecessary move. Unfortunately, as this was proposed by Labour and is now being pursued by the Tories, I’d say it was likely that this will be implemented, unless there is a real uproar caused amongst voters themselves, as happened with the proposals to sell off woodlands in England and Wales.

Privatisation has never been the greatest success in this country. When private companies and shareholders become involved we have to ask, will corners be cut to maximise profits? Worse, what will happen if that company goes bust? No rescues while in administration? Virgin Search and Rescue? Or God forbid Easy Rescue! “Sorry sir, your rucksack is over the baggage allowance limit. Would you like to pay £50 to upgrade to our all inclusive rescue package, or will we just leave your bag on the mountain?”

We have an outstanding search and rescue helicopter service paid for through taxation. We are now being asked to accept a substitute service, still paid for by taxation, that many people, particularly within MRT and SAR itself, feel is off a lesser standard. That’s the real issue, and there’s a danger that in the confusion of the debate, that we lose sight of that, and the military SAR at the same time.

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