The fight to save UK Coastguard rescue coordination centres is not over. We are urgently seeking volunteers who would be interested in becoming a local liaison officer or supporters to campaign as an extension of the National Coastguard SOS Campaign in local areas. If you are interested in learning more please email your contact details and information to info@coastguardsos.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Embedded image permalink

 

http://cdn.images.express.co.uk/img/page/express_logo.pngEXCLUSIVE: Government is

‘GAMBLING with public safety’ as ROOKIES man coastguard

stations

WHISTLEBLOWERS have told the Sunday Express that “dangerous and ill-equipped” rookies are having to man coastguard stations, putting lives at risk.

Coastguard, UK, Government, Whistleblower, David Cameron, UKIP, Coalition, House of Commons, House of Lords, British, English, beachesHas the Sunday Express whistleblower revealed a serious risk to UK lives? Comment below. [PA]

As temperatures soar and families flock to Britain’s seaside resorts, inexperienced staff are being recruited to fill large numbers of vacancies because experienced officers have been leaving the Maritime and Coastguard Agency in their droves since the Coalition announced a modernisation drive in 2010.

The inevitable cuts have seen some local coastguard stations closed, while ministers want rescues to be co-ordinated more at national level rather than locally.

Coastguard whistleblowers believe the restructuring will lead to greater loss of life along Britain’s 12,000 miles of coast.

One claimed “unqualified” people are being drafted in to cover “watch duty” because “insufficient qualified staff are available”.

He warned: “These people should not be given this level of responsibility. It is dangerous and they are ill-equipped to carry out strict co-ordination duties.”

The Government is gambling with public safety. If the closure programme leads to loss of life there will be no hiding place for an MP who has backed it.

Dennis O’Connor

Another said: “I am unconvinced that the Government’s closure plan will improve resilience with a move to a centralised search-and-rescue co-ordination centre.

“Further, I am fearful that a loss of life will occur directly as a result of the closure programme.”

The chronic staffing shortage was laid bare in official figures released by Transport Minister Stephen Hammond in response to a parliamentary question.

They show that in the past two years, 5,323 shifts at the country’s 17 Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centres have been staffed at levels below those assessed to be safe.

The Thames station was the worst hit, with almost 60 per cent of shifts staffed at unsafe levels, followed by Aberdeen (46 per cent), Dover (43 per cent), Belfast (42 per cent), Falmouth (25 per cent), Liverpool (25 per cent) and Portland (22 per cent).

In one month alone, 96 per cent of shifts in Aberdeen were understaffed.

Meanwhile three 24-hour stations at Great Yarmouth, Clyde and Forth have been closed by Coalition cuts, with the axe hanging over three more this year and another three in 2015.

Nationally, these centres dealt with more than 20,000 incidents last year, 3,582 of them in July.

Of those under threat the Solent, which covers the Bournemouth and Brighton seaside resorts, and Portland, which covers Weymouth, are expected to close over the summer.

A new National Maritime Operations Centre will not open in Fareham, between Portsmouth and Southampton, until Sept­ember.

Louise Ellman, chairwoman of the Commons Transport Committee, has pledged to raise the issue in Parliament.

The Labour MP said: “It is of particular concern now that we are approaching the summer season when there are more people at sea and using leisure craft. I will be raising this issue again in Parliament.”

Dennis O’Connor, national co-ordinator for the campaign group Coastguard SOS, said the cuts were a “seaside scandal”.

The former rescue officer from Pembrokeshire said: “The Maritime and Coastguard Agency was lucky to get through last year without the closure plan coming back to haunt it.

“The Government is gambling with public safety. If the closure programme leads to loss of life there will be no hiding place for an MP who has backed it.”

Last night the Public and Commercial Services union said MPs were “right to be concerned”.

A spokesman said: “The reorganisation means the loss of experienced staff from a life-saving service where local knowledge is often the key to a successful rescue.”

An MCA spokesman said a recruitment drive is underway.

He said the revamped service “will enable a National Maritime Operations Centre and all other centres to co-ordinate any incident around the UK coast”.

End.

http://cdn.images.express.co.uk/img/page/express_logo.png

MPs must act as coastguard staff crisis puts lives at risk

NO price tag should ever be put on a person’s life. That is why the Government must heed warnings from its own rescue service that lives could be at risk if it does not address the chronic understaffing of its coastguard stations.

MPs, Alan Titchmarsh, Coastguard, Staff, Crisis, Risk, Threat, Security, BBC, W1A, Viewers, TV Shows, The Sunday Express thinks the Coastguard crisis is putting British lives in danger[GETTY]
It only takes one tragedy during the busy summer months for the finger of blame to be pointed. One tragedy that will have a human face and will leave a devastated family in mourning.It is deeply worrying that as the mercury soars our coastguard stations are so woefully understaffed.Poised to respond to disaster 24 hours a day Britain’s fourth emergency service is on hand to receive in-coming distress calls and co-ordinate the rescue effort.Without the heroism of these men and women who calmly and professionally handle life and death situations every day there is no doubt more lives would be lost at sea.

It is deeply worrying that as the mercury soars our coastguard stations are so woefully understaffed.

The Government has itself determined what the safe staffing levels should be for its network of Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centres yet in the past two years, 5,323 shifts at the country’s 17 remaining coastguard stations have been staffed at below risk-assessed levels.

Worried whistleblowers have told the Sunday Express that the impact of the staffing shortages could have devastating consequences.

While we understand that arrangements are in place for understaffed centres to team up with other coastguard stations the scale of the problem, which affects all but one co-ordination centre, suggests further action is needed.

Next time tragedy strikes at sea ministers will want to know that everything that could possibly be done to save lives was done, without this issue coming back to haunt them.

 

28.04.14

Bill Esterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how many coastguard operations room staff have applied for both new posts in the new coastguard structure and voluntary redundancy; [196405]

(2) how many coastguard operations room staff have applied for voluntary redundancy; [196406]

(3) how many coastguard operations room staff have applied for posts in the restructured coastguard service. [196407]

Stephen Hammond: As at 14 April 2014, of those Coastguards currently working in a Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre, 86 have applied for both new posts in the new coastguard structure and voluntary redundancy, 140 have applied for voluntary redundancy only and 128 have applied for a new post in the new coastguard structure only.

Bill Esterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how often and when each coastguard station has been under-staffed in the last two years. [196410]

Stephen Hammond: The following table shows the number of occasions each Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) was staffed at below risk assessed levels over the last two years by month.

Where there are specific issues at a MRCC Her Majesty’s Coastguard is using the current long established pairing arrangements between MRCCs. This enables each MRCC to be connected to at least one other MRCC which is available to provide mutual support.

Bill Esterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many coastguard operations room staff in Liverpool have left the service in the last two years. [196409]

Stephen Hammond: Since April 2012 eight Coastguards that worked in the operations room at Liverpool Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre have left Her Majesty’s Coastguard.

Number of occasions each Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) was staffed at below risk assessed levels Mar 2012 – Mar 2014

 

KEY to following graphic = “Safe” stations Closing stations.        Figures in red denote 50% (+ or minus) understaffed shifts per month

Month/Season

Watches

Shetland

Aberdeen

Humber

Thames

London

Dover

Solent

Portland

Brixham

Falmouth

Swansea

Milford H

Holyhead

Liverpool

Belfast

Stornoway

Mar 2012

62

1

13

6

33

0

7

3

13

N/A

22

2

0

4

0

0

5

Apr 2012

60

1

58

0

40

0

38

9

41

N/A

24

3

3

2

1

25

9

May 2012

62

1

22

3

26

0

36

8

19

N/A

29

1

1

9

8

25

19

Jun 2012

60

0

28

2

40

0

26

9

30

N/A

25

0

1

7

16

23

13

Jul 2012

62

0

41

0

40

0

39

8

16

N/A

39

10

3

21

15

24

20

Aug 2012

62

0

37

0

48

0

38

10

5

7

21

2

3

13

11

29

18

Sep 2012

60

0

38

0

50

0

32

4

8

4

39

0

5

9

20

14

13

Oct 2012

62

0

46

0

45

0

15

0

8

2

29

0

1

0

3

6

12

Nov 2012

60

0

27

0

41

0

19

3

9

3

33

2

0

0

7

14

7

Dec 2012

62

0

35

0

53

0

22

3

24

6

34

1

6

2

5

45

20

Jan 2013

62

0

30

1

37

0

22

1

19

3

10

2

1

2

16

48

3

Feb 2013

56

1

27

0

46

0

34

0

9

2

13

2

1

7

11

46

8

Mar 2013

62

0

31

19

34

0

37

0

6

0

13

4

2

7

10

35

16

Apr 2013

60

1

24

1

22

0

32

3

5

1

2

2

0

2

32

48

7

May 2013

62

6

25

5

24

0

18

2

11

2

7

3

1

5

23

37

7

Jun 2013

60

1

25

11

16

0

31

4

8

6

12

7

1

10

26

51

3

Jul 2013

62

6

27

14

46

0

32

7

15

1

2

23

5

14

39

50

13

Aug 2013

62

20

26

20

55

0

27

15

30

1

3

30

3

10

39

41

12

Sep 2013

60

5

26

34

35

0

34

2

10

8

0

7

4

15

20

34

12

Oct 2013

62

0

7

21

33

0

16

3

16

1

5

9

1

1

20

5

8

Nov 2013

60

2

10

27

33

0

13

2

12

0

3

9

7

0

11

8

14

Dec 2013

62

3

33

30

33

0

21

7

10

5

3

21

2

0

15

11

13

Jan 2014

62

1

14

25

21

0

19

5

2

1

0

10

5

0

7

6

5

Feb 2014

56

4

16

22

25

0

17

3

8

0

5

6

5

0

11

5

5

Mar 2014

62

2

28

21

37

0

28

10

7

1

10

2

6

2

8

8

6

TOTALS

1522

55

694

262

913

0

653

121

341

54

383

158

67

142

374

638

268

Understaffing

/////

3.6%

45.59%

17.21%

59.58%

0%

42.90%

7.95%

22.40%

3.54%

25.16%

10.37%

4.40%

9.32%

24.57%

41.91%

17.59%

March 2012 – March 2014 MRCC understaffing performance table at a glance

1

London

0/1522

0%

2

Brixham

54/1522

3.54%

3

Shetland

 55/1522

3.6%

4

Milford 

67/1522

4.40%

5

Solent

121/1522

7.95%

6

Holyhead

142/1522

9.32%

7

Swansea

158/1522

10.37%

8

Humber

262/1522

17.21%

9

Stornoway  

268/1522

17.59%

10

Portland

341/1522

22.40%

11

Liverpool

374/1522

24.57%

12

 

Falmouth

 383/1522

25.16%

13

Belfast

838/1522

41.91%

14

Dover

653/1522

42.90%

15

 

Aberdeen

 694/1522

45.59%

16

Thames

913/1522

59.58%

Green = Station safe

Red = Station closing

Aberdeen were given additional area responsibility following the closure of Forth Coastguard

Belfast were given additional area of responsibility following the closure of Clyde Coastguard

Humber were given additional area of responsibility following the closure of Yarmouth Coastguard

Milford Haven will assume additional area of responsibility following the closure of Swansea Coastguard

Falmouth will assume additional area of responsibility following the closure of Brixham Coastguard

Holyhead will assume additional area of responsibility following the closure of Liverpool Coastguard

Dover Coastguard will assume the role of back up maritime operations centre (MOC)

Spring 2012

Month/Season

Watches

Shetland

Aberdeen

Humber

Thames

London

Dover

Solent

Portland

Brixham

Falmouth

Swansea

Milford H

Holyhead

Liverpool

Belfast

Stornoway

Summer 2012

Month/Season

Watches

Shetland

Aberdeen

Humber

Thames

London

Dover

Solent

Portland

Brixham

Falmouth

Swansea

Milford H

Holyhead

Liverpool

Belfast

Stornoway

Jun-12

60

0

28

2

40

0

26

9

30

N/A

25

0

1

7

16

23

13

Jul-12

62

0

41

0

40

0

39

8

16

N/A

39

10

3

21

15

24

20

Aug-12

62

0

37

0

48

0

38

10

5

7

21

2

3

13

11

29

18

Total Summer

184

0

106

2

128

0

103

27

51

7

85

12

7

41

42

76

51

%

0

57.6

1.08

69.56

0

55.97

14.67

27.71

3.8

46.19

6.52

3.8

22.28

22.82

41.3

27.71

Spring 2013

Watches

Shetland

Aberdeen

Humber

Thames

London

Dover

Solent

Portland

Brixham

Falmouth

Swansea

Milford H

Holyhead

Liverpool

Belfast

Stornoway

62

0

31

19

34

0

37

0

6

0

13

4

2

7

10

35

16

60

1

24

1

22

0

32

3

5

1

2

2

0

2

32

48

7

62

6

25

5

24

0

18

2

11

2

7

3

1

5

23

37

7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

184

7

80

25

80

0

87

5

22

3

22

9

3

14

65

120

30

3.8%

43.47%

13.58%

43.47%

0%

47.28%

2.71%

11.95%

1.63%

11.95%

4.89%

1.63%

7.6%

35.32%

65.21%

16.3%

Summer 2013

Watches

Shetland

Aberdeen

Humber

Thames

London

Dover

Solent

Portland

Brixham

Falmouth

Swansea

Milford H

Holyhead

Liverpool

Belfast

Stornoway

60

1

25

11

16

0

31

4

8

6

12

7

1

10

26

51

3

62

6

27

14

46

0

32

7

15

1

2

23

5

14

39

50

13

62

20

26

20

55

0

27

15

30

1

3

30

3

10

39

41

12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

184

27

78

45

117

0

90

26

53

8

17

60

9

34

104

142

28

 

14.67%

42.39%

24.45%

63.58%

0%

48.91%

14.13%

28.8%

4.34%

9.23%

32.6%

4.89%

18.47%

56.52%

77.17%

15.21%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring / Summer 2012 combined to show level of understaffing at each station throughout key holiday periods

 

 

Spring / Summer 2013 combined to show level of understaffing at each station throughout key holiday periods

Watches

Shetland

Aberdeen

Humber

Thames

London

Dover

Solent

Portland

Brixham

Falmouth

Swansea

Milford H

Holyhead

Liverpool

Belfast

Stornoway

62

0

31

19

34

0

37

0

6

0

13

4

2

7

10

35

16

60

1

24

1

22

0

32

3

5

1

2

2

0

2

32

48

7

62

6

25

5

24

0

18

2

11

2

7

3

1

5

23

37

7

60

1

25

11

16

0

31

4

8

6

12

7

1

10

26

51

3

62

6

27

14

46

0

32

7

15

1

2

23

5

14

39

50

13

62

20

26

20

55

0

27

15

30

1

3

30

3

10

39

41

12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

368

34

158

70

197

0

177

31

75

11

39

69

12

48

169

262

58

%

9.23

42.93

19.02

53.53

0

48.09

8.69

20.38

2.98

10.59

18.75

3.26

13.04

45.92

71.19

15.76

Stations with increased understaffing % in Spring / Summer 2013 compared to Spring / Summer 2012

Shetland

Humber

Brixham

Swansea

Milford

Liverpool

Belfast

Five stations were understaffed by more than 25% on average during the Spring / Summer period 2013

Three stations were around 50% + understaffed on average during the Spring / Summer period 2013

20.01.14. Latest FOI figures reveal worsening shift staffing crisis

KeyData2013-X

2013v2012MRCC-StaffingV3

Embargo:  for immediate use

From the office of : Katy Clark MP

 

 

Over 400 shifts under- staffed on west coast coastguard centre

 

The coastguard co-ordination centre responsible for the west coast of Scotland was below safe staffing levels on over 400 shifts in 2013. In answer to Parliamentary Questions throughout the year from Scottish Labour MP Katy Clark Government Ministers revealed that MRCC Belfast was staffed at below risk-assessed level on 428 of 730 shifts in 2013, 58% of the total. MRCC Belfast took over primary responsibility for the West Coast of Scotland following the closure of Greenock based MRCC Clyde in December 2012 as part of the Government’s decision to cut the number of coastguard co-ordination centres across the United Kingdom. Concerns were raised at that time by coastguard staff and MPs about staffing levels, the loss of local knowledge and the contingency arrangements in the event of a communications failure at Belfast.

 

Speaking on the subject Katy Clark said “The appalling number of unsafely staffed shifts at MRCC Belfast which is now responsible for the west coast of Scotland following the closure of Clyde coastguard station throughout 2013 shows just how poorly thought out the decision to close MRCC Clyde was. It seems clear to me that the decision was taken to close the Greenock station for cost reasons alone with maritime safety considerations merely an afterthought. It is deeply concerning that Belfast has been allowed to remain so badly understaffed for so long. I have genuine concerns about maritime safety off the west coast of Scotland. ”

 

“In September the Government claimed that the recruitment of new Maritime and Coastguard Agency staff would solve the problems and the number of understaffed shifts at Belfast dropped dramatically in October to 5 shifts out of 62. Since then however the number has crept up in consecutive months and in December was more than double the October figure. Properly risk-assessed staffing levels are the absolute minimum that the public have the right to expect from our coastguard agency, it is not simply an inconvenience that the Government can choose to ignore.”

 

The Member of Parliament for North Ayrshire and Arran has secured a meeting with Transport Minister Stephen Hammond to discuss how the situation can be improved in 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes to editors:

 

In answer to Parliamentary Questions from Katy Clark MP throughout 2014 the Government revealed that MRCC Belfast was understaffed on the below number of shifts each month of the year.

 

Jan

43

62

Feb

46

56

March

54

62

April

48

60

May

37

62

Jun

51

60

July

50

62

Aug

41

62

Sept

34

60

Oct

5

62

Nov

8

60

Dec

11

62

 

 

For more information please contact the office of Katy Clark MP on 0207 219 8667

 

Ends

The truth about under staffing at stations.

The Government and the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) have been forced under FOI (Freedom of Information) requests to reveal the number of HM Coastguard staff on shift at Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centres (MRCC’s) around the UK.

The truth is that the figures are truly alarming.

Since the MCA announced the final (current) plan to ‘modernise’ HM Coastguard by closing 50% of MRCC’s, there has been an understandable rise in staff leaving.

BELFAST MRCC

CLYDE MRCC

DATE

No shifts

No shifts under RA

% under RA

 

Jan-12

62

0

0.00%

no data

Feb-12

58

0

0.00%

no data

Mar-12

62

0

0.00%

no data

Apr-12

60

25

41.67%

no data

May-12

62

25

40.32%

no data

Jun-12

60

23

38.33%

no data

Jul-12

62

24

38.71%

no data

Aug-12

62

29

46.77%

no data

Sep-12

60

14

23.33%

no data

Oct-12

62

6

9.68%

no data

Nov-12

60

14

23.33%

no data

Dec-12

62

45

72.58%

MRCC CLOSED

Jan-13

62

48

77.42%

no data

Feb-13

56

46

82.14%

no data

Mar-13

62

35

56.45%

no data

Apr-13

60

48

80.00%

no data

May-13

62

37

59.68%

no data

RA = min. Risk Assessed level of staff required to provide effective & prompt response to Coastal/Sea emergency

However, it is not just staff from closing stations that are leaving – data released also shows large numbers of staff leaving ALL stations even from those deemed so called “safe” stations.

Here is an example of how the closure of Clyde MRCC has a significant effect on Belfast MRCC as it took on a significant proportion of extra work and West Coast of Scotland’s area of responsibility.

The immediate month that Clyde closed, Belfast saw a massive leap in the number of times that watch shifts are understaffed.

According to other figures released by the MCA, there is a FULL complement of staff at Belfast with no vacancies.

Prior to Belfast taking over a considerable amount of extra work and area of responsibility, Belfast only appears to have shift manning issues during high holiday periods.

It is significant to note that the Belfast MRCC Manager resigned his position just a couple of weeks after the station took on some of Clyde’s  responsibility. http://afloat.ie/safety/coastguard/item/20804-belfast-coastguard-manager-resigns-as-station-takes-on-extra-load

The sheer scale of failure has not gone unnoticed either. Katy Clark MP (North Ayrshire and Arran), highlighted these concerns after forcing Transport Secretary Stephen Hammond to answer a Parliamentary question.

 http://www.largsandmillportnews.com/news/largs/articles/2013/05/29/458897-coastguard-staff-at-worrying-levels/?mode=print

 According to the snapshot of data for Belfast, the alarming trend of failing to safely staff shifts continues.

 Worryingly, it’s not as if this example of Belfast is an isolated case, far from it in fact:

Understaffing of shifts increased dramatically for Aberdeen just prior to and after taking on responsibility for the area that Forth Coastguard used to be responsible for until its closure. Considering that this MRCC (Aberdeen) covers all the North Sea Oil and Gas production facilities, it has the staggeringly high understaffing rate of 96.67%.

The figures reveal that the worst understaffing at each MRCC ranges from 10% to 97%

London is the only MRCC not to have any understaffed shifts and has more staff than it should have according to the official MCA allocation of resources.

It begs the question, is this Government’s politics trying to ensure that any tragedy (due to the current disastrous closure plan) is kept well and truly away from Westminster’s doorstep?   It would certainly explain why the first MRCC closures took place in Scotland – the furthest away from the Houses of Parliament.

The Worst time for understaffing across UK is during Summer holidays when average across all stations is over 30%. This has been further exacerbated by the fine weather recently and a reported rise of at least 23% in incidents for HM Coastguard.

http://www.dft.gov.uk/mca/mcga07-home/newsandpublications/press-releases.htm?id=CF4D1BD60000244C&m=7&y=2013

The risk of a tragedy which could be attributed (wholly or partly) to insufficient staff at an MRCC is now the highest it has ever been in the service’s modern history.

It has prompted the Coastguard SOS Campaign group to produce the TRAGEDY poster:

Of the stations that are not scheduled to be closed, Aberdeen, Dover, Belfast and Falmouth are all high risk MRCC’s that demonstrate signs of potential disaster, especially because of the Oil and Gas link for Aberdeen. The busiest shipping lane in the world is monitored at Dover while Falmouth is responsible for all international rescues. Belfast has some of the most hazardous coastline to look after.

The MRCC’s yet to be closed are also struggling, with significant problems showing at Thames, Portland and Liverpool and Swansea. Thames Coastguard that was recently subject of the BBC World at One report (01-08-2013) where the dire shift staffing was reported as running at an average of 65%.

The BBC report was one of the most accurate we have heard to date, citing enough facts and history to acquaint the listener with the reality of the current situation. It was deeply troubling to hear the Chief Coastguard Peter Dymond’s response to the staffing crisis as

“I think we are continuing to provide a first class service to the public and the mariner”

When challenged about Thames 65% under safe staffing levels Mr. Dymond said

“I think the evidence is there – they are continuing to perform and to handle Search and Rescue incidents – which they have always done. I can’t say anything else other than they are continuing to provide the service that the public expects of them.”

From this last comment, it must be taken that all comments to the press are strictly scripted and that there is a considerable air of complacency amongst Department for Transport (DfT) and MCA senior ranks.

In the interview the Thames MRCC watch manager continued to state the grave concerns that ultimately put lives of the public at risk.

When the interviewer (Andrew Bomford) asked the Chief Coastguard the direct question “Is it a Safe service”, Mr. Dymond replied:

“It is indeed a safe service and I think the point I must also make here is frontline resources: the search and rescue helicopters, RNLI lifeboats, Coastguard Rescue Teams are totally unaffected by this modernisation program”

This answer is a typical well rehearsed but worn out response which is inaccurate and insulting to MRCC Watch officers, as it implies that their role is of little significance in the rescue process. That is far from the truth as their role is pivotal to manage all of the rescue assets.  

As for the rescue assets being “totally unaffected” – this is untrue:

the ‘modernisation’ program is set to make changes to the structure of all HM Coastguard Rescue Teams.  Helicopter SAR is to be completely changed with the ending of all RN / RAF involvolment in civil SAR. In future Helicopter SAR  will  be provided by a private company (Bristow). The number of available aircraft for Helicopter SAR is reported to drop by nearly 50% with some existing bases closing. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/defence/9961455/Britains-search-and-rescue-helicopters-to-be-cut-by-nearly-50pc-in-new-deal.html