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Ground the air rescue sell-off; RecordView.

IT'S astonishing that the pounds 6billion privatisation plans for the search and rescue helicopter service are on the brink of collapse due to improper conduct claims.

So worried were the Royal Bank of Scotland, they've already pulled out of the Soteria consortium, the Government's preferred bidder for the deal.

And the Ministry of Defence police are crawling all over the affair, investigating accusations of information leaks before the Con-Dems decide to scrap, re-tender or press on with their private finance initiative project.

But there should be no doubts in this matter.

Even the faintest whiff of corruption or wrongdoing should mean the entire project being dropped.

RBS have obviously heard enough to bail out. Their withdrawal could be a terminal blow for the plan as Soteria may not be able to find an alternative equity partner.

If the process is stopped and started again, that could mean costly delays and expensive work to extend the life of existing Sea King helicopters at 12 bases, four of them in Scotland - at Sumburgh, Stornoway, Lossiemouth and Prestwick.

A quick decision is needed to end uncertainty for the people whose livelihoods are at stake.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jan 29, 2011
Words:191
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