Scotland

Coastguard supporters hold Greenock rally

Coastguard helicopter
Image caption The UK government aims to close eight UK coastguard stations by 2015

Campaigners opposed to cuts in the coastguard service have held a rally outside one of Scotland's busiest coastguard stations.

The march through Greenock was described as the last chance to keep the Clyde centre open.

The plan to move work from Greenock to a coastguard centre in Belfast would result in the loss of 31 jobs.

The UK government has said its proposals to close a total of eight stations will modernise the service.

In Scotland, the Forth coastguard station in Fife is also under threat.

Campaigners against the changes, which are projected to save over £7m a year, have said local knowledge and understanding are being put at risk.

Speaking after the rally, Stuart Atkinson from the Public and Commercial Services Union said: "I'm really heartened by the number of people who've turned up.

"We've had nearly 10,000 people sign our petition and the numbers keep going up day by day.

"We're getting great support and now, with the chance to meet Alex Salmond and try to gain his support, we hope this campaign will go forward and send a real message to Westminster that it's wrong to close Clyde coastguard."

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