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Borders Citizens Advice Bureau services saved

Citizens Advice Bureaux have been advising people in the Borders since 1970. Credit: PA

Citizens Advice centres in the Scottish Borders have had their funding secured for the next two years.

Citizens Advice Bureaux have been advising people in the Borders since 1970. The three Bureaux will now be able to continue till March 2017.

Between them they've got 100 volunteers and 17 paid staff. Last year they dealt with 30,000 enquiries from local people.

“We’re absolutely delighted with the news. Our services in the Borders are relied upon by thousands of folk in need of help here every year – often when people turn to us they are fast approaching a crisis situation. We are pleased and relieved that we can continue to provide that much needed help and support. It’s also very gratifying to have the value of our work recognised and appreciated by the local authority, and we hope to continue working in a constructive partnership with them.”

– Euan Robson, Chair of the Borders Citizens Advice Consortium

Bus stops: Meeting in Shap

The closure of a major bus route in Cumbria which has led to an outcry from local communities along the route.

One pensioner, says she's been forced to sell her house and move because the service between Penrith and Kendal has ended.

Several hundred people have signed a petition to get the route running again as Paul Crone reports.

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MP presses Prime Minister on second home tax to save GP surgeries

South Lakes MP Tim Farron has asked the Prime Minister to back his idea to create a special rural fund to protect rural services, using money from a proposed 10% tax on second home owners.

He argues that if South Lakeland District Council had the power to charge an extra 10 per cent to the estimated 5,000 second home owners in the district, it would generate around £1.25 million a year.

This funding could then be used to protect rural bus routes, improve local roads, protect post offices and pubs. The idea came up as another way to protect rural GP practices from changes in the Minimum Practice Income Guarantee (MPIG).

The Minimum Practice Income Guarantee (MPIG) is being ditched and local politicians and campaigners have claimed this is further undermining key services in countryside communities. Recently the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority and South Lakeland District Council both agreed to lobby for the MPIG changes to be looked at again. Some practices now face a 35% cut in funding.

Speaking after Prime Minister’s Questions Tim said:

“This fund could protect rural services and give them a sustainable funding stream. For me, this is not about penalising second home owners, it’s about asking them to pay their fair share. They use the GP practice, the bus service and the post office and like local people they should support it. Rural services cost more to sustain but I believe that we should all pitch in to pay for them."

– Tim Farron MP, Westmorland & Lonsdale, Lib Dem

Council looks for alternatives after bus service cuts

People living in rural areas around Penrith are meeting tonight to discuss bus service cuts that have left many feeling stranded.

Cumbria County Council announced the cuts on routes from Penrith to both Kendal and Greystoke. The council says it can no longer afford to subsidise the routes and is looking at alternative ways of supporting residents.

Meeting in Shap to discuss bus service cuts

Cumbria County Council announced bus service cuts on routes from Penrith to both Kendal and Greystoke. Credit: ITV Border

People living in rural areas around Penrith are meeting tonight to discuss bus service cuts that have left many feeling stranded.

Cumbria County Council announced the cuts on routes from Penrith to both Kendal and Greystoke. The council says it can no longer afford to subsidise the routes and is looking at alternative ways of supporting residents.

The meeting will be held in Shap.

Full report: Parking charges scrapped in Cumbria

Plans to introduce on street parking charges across Cumbria have been scrapped by the county council. Concerns were raised during the public consultation over whether the charges could be legally enforced.

Local people including business owners have welcome the council u-turn though there is some criticism about the length of time it's taken to reach this decision.

Kim Inglis has this report.

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Lottery grants Borders £56million over 20 years

More than £56million has been awarded to Borders projects from the National Lottery over 20 years. Credit: PA

More than £56million has been awarded to Borders projects from the National Lottery over 20 years.

New figures have been released as the National Lottery celebrates its 20th birthday. More than 1,812 grants have have been awarded to individuals and organisations in the Borders from the four lottery distributors in Scotland.

The largest grant was just over £4.9million awarded to the Abbotsford Trust for the conservation of Abbotsford, the former home of Sir Walter Scott. The Trust has also benefited from two other awards amounting to £1.05 million.

Other notable National Lottery supported projects in the Borders include Wilton Lodge Park (£2.722 million), Heritage Hub in Hawick (£1.982 million), Eastgate Theatre in Peebles (£1.593 million) and two awards to the Tweed Rivers Project totalling £4.1 million.

Most recently Burnfoot Community Futures received around £1.2million, across three awards, to deliver a community owned hub to provide a range of new local services.

"For 20 years National Lottery funding has and continues to play an important role in directly empowering our communities and enabling the outstanding community action that offers so much to the quality of life in the Borders.

It is a time to congratulate the National Lottery in its 20th year and to congratulate our Borders communities in recognition of the huge community effort involved in securing such a level of investment, from every corner of the Borders.”

– Councillor Jim Brown, SBC’s Executive Member for Community Planning

Council backtracks on on-street parking

New on-street parking charges will NOT be introduced to Cumbria. Credit: PA

Charges for on-street parking and residents’ parking permits will not be introduced across Cumbria.

During the consultation process concerns were raised about the current enforcement process. It was felt that Cumbria County Council could have left itself open to legal challenges.

“It is clear that there are strong concerns about enforcement in both on-street parking and residents’ permits. We agree. That’s why we’re bringing this back in house.

“The consultation also brought out concerns about the legality of Experimental Traffic Regulation Orders for the introduction of on-street parking charges. The law is less clear here so we sought additional external legal opinion. Counsel’s opinion suggests that we could be open to legal challenge and if we want to proceed we would have to consult again by means of ordinary Traffic Regulation Orders.

“I have discussed this option and the findings of the consultation with the Leader of the council and I have decided not to introduce on-street parking charges at this time.

“It has also emerged that the policies on the issuing of residents’ permits across the county have been inconsistent. This raises questions about fairness. So my decision is to keep things as they are until we can carry out a proper review,”

– Jim Savege, Corporate Director for Environment and Community Services

“I support the Director in his decisions. Having asked local people for their views on these matters, we must listen to them. Charges without robust enforcement undermine the legitimacy of the policy.”

“Whilst we can’t say that this will never come back at some stage – given the financial pressures caused by government cuts, I can say that we have no immediate plans to do so and any proposals in the future would be preceded by further public consultation.”

– Stewart Young, Leader of the Council
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