THE RNLI has said people's safety on beaches will be put at risk if the government does not intervene to support lifeguards.

The RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) – a charity funded by supporters' donations - said it has not benefited greatly from the government’s furlough scheme, as many of its lifeguards are seasonal workers who were not due to start until after the cut off date for support.

Therefore, lifeguards are set to face serious money problems unless the government intervenes.

This affects many lifeguards in our region, including those who normally safeguard beaches along Wirral’s coastline.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service understands that a number of lifeguards in the borough have been told they are not needed, but have not received any furlough pay.

A spokesperson for the RNLI, said: "The RNLI has provided what assistance it can, but as a charity relying on supporters' generous donations, it cannot match the Government's furlough scheme.

"The RNLI values these highly skilled [lifeguard] roles and recognises that these individuals are going to be essential when the lockdown is lifted and people head to our coastlines and enjoy our beautiful beaches.

"However, without Government support they are going to face financial difficulties. This will affect safety on the beaches on which our lifeguards normally operate.

"We are sympathetic towards, and fully support our seasonal lifeguards as they call on the Government to consider the financial support they need."

Explaining why lifeguards were not being employed as they had been in previous years, the spokesperson added: "Our lifeguards are highly trained professionals who provide a vital service around the beaches of the UK and Channel Islands, keeping families and coastal visitors safe – whether that's offering safety advice, giving lifesaving first aid or rescuing people from the surf.

"But these are unprecedented times and social distancing guidance means we have had to pause the roll out of RNLI lifeguards onto beaches this year to keep our lifeguards and the public safe."

Responding to this plea, a Treasury spokesperson, said: "The Chancellor has outlined an unprecedented package of measures to protect millions of people’s jobs and incomes as part of the national effort in response to the coronavirus.

"We recognise the crucial role lifeguards play.

"Those who took jobs over the winter may still be able to be furloughed by their winter employers, and those who aren’t eligible to access the Job Retention Scheme may also be able to access other support including help with mortgage payments, protection from eviction, and increases in Universal Credit and the Working Tax Credit."