Criticism levelled at the RNLI after it was found that 2% of their funding was spent overseas has been branded a “disgrace” by a Fife MP as he offered his support for the organisation.
A pair of Conservative MPs claimed the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) was putting its reputation at risk after the charity said it sent funding to other countries as part of its educational programme.
North East Fife MP Stephen Gethins, whose constituency includes the Anstruther station and sits on the River Tay – covered by the UK’s busiest station, Broughty Ferry – slammed the criticism.
The SNP representative said talk of taking funding from the RNLI as a result of its overseas aid schemes would be a “disgrace” and the country should be proud of the lifesaving institution.
He said: “Everyone across North East Fife and the UK should be proud of the work the RNLI does both locally and internationally.
“Their volunteers do so much to keep us safe, not least the fantastic team based at Anstruther.
“We should also take pride in the work that RNLI does in more deprived parts of the world. Their efforts save thousands of lives each year, including the lives of many children.
“This work must continue and the RNLI deserves our thanks and praise for their good work. Trying to take away funding from these programmes is a disgrace.
“The RNLI and their supporters have my full backing for the great work they do in North East Fife, as well as internationally. We can all rightly be proud of both roles.”
Tory MP Nigel Evans, who sits on the Commons International Development Committee, said: “The fact the RNLI are cutting staff in the UK but boosting spending on these international projects begs the question of what the priority of the organisation is? They are risking the reputation of the charity.
“I would say 99 per cent of the British public giving money to them have not the faintest idea it’s being diverted to projects overseas.”
Andrew Bridgen, a Tory MP, told The Times: “It is the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, not the Royal International Lifeboat Institution.”