RNLI being shafted by HMG
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LIFEBOAT crews fear being scuppered by crippling new charges for using their radios from Ofcom, the communications regulator. The RNLI could see the price of using its VHF emergency frequencies rise to £250,000 under plans to charge the full commercial rate.
The charity, which saves hundreds of lives every year currently pays an annual £48,000 at a discounted rate of 50 per cent. It relies on donations and fears the move will have a disastrous impact on fund-raising. Peter Bradley, RNLI operations staff officer, said: 'It's a lot of money when you think in terms of lifeboat days and little old ladies collecting pound coins.'
'We could buy several inshore lifeboats for the same amount.'
'The Government rely on us to provide this search-and-rescue service, at a cost of £124 million a year, but they want to charge us for doing it!'
Ofcom has set out plans to bring 'market forces' into maritime and civil aviation communications in a policy it calls Administered Incentive Pricing.
£250,000 represents an awful lot of charity collections, even more so in the current economic climate so, if like me you feel strongly enough about this, please sign the petition below.