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Salmond visits local veterans and children in Peebles

First Minister Alex Salmond is visiting Peebles later today where he's expected to announce further funding for war memorials across Scotland.

Hundreds of memorials have already been restored to mark the centenary of the start of the First World War.

Mr Salmond will meet with local veterans and primary school children during his visit.

First Minister Alex Salmond Credit: PA


Natwest branches struggle with 26 customers

Milnthorpe and Sedbergh branches of Natwest will close in January. Credit: PA

Natwest branches in Milnthorpe and Sedbergh will close on 28th January 2015.

It reports that both branches only have 26 regular customers and transactions at the branches is reported to have fallen by 16%. It is due to this that the branches will be closed.

£1billion will be spent to improve other services, such as increasing the amount of ATM locations and installing 600 Cash and Deposit machines for customers to pay in cheques and cash.

Read: Tim Farron MP says the 'impact will be huge'.

"Our branches are still very important to us and we’ll continue to have one of the largest branch networks in the UK. 80% of our customers are within a three mile radius of a branch, and when you include the Post Office network that rises to 90% of our customers being within one mile of a place where they can carry out their every day banking.

Overall, we are investing over £1bn over the next few years to give customers greater choice in how they bank with us, such as improving our online and mobile banking and upgrading over 400 branches across the UK. These branches will be fitted with new technology including iPads to register and access Online Banking and free Wi-Fi access for customers to use their own digital devices in branch.

We’ve advised staff and we’re writing to our customers to make them aware of the closure and the different ways they can still bank with us. If customers or local businesses are concerned about how this will impact their banking, they can go into the branch where staff will be happy to discuss the alternative ways to bank with us."

– A NatWest spokesperson

Barclays justify closing Sedbergh branch

Barclays will close the Sedbergh branch in February. Credit: PA

Barclays has justified closing the branch in Sedbergh.

In a statement, it's said the decision to close the branch has come after a reduction in the number of customers using it. However people can continue banking online or at a nearby Post Office.

“The way customers undertake their banking is changing as people increasingly use online, telephone and mobile devices. In response to this change in customer behaviour we must evolve our business to meet their needs.

At Sedbergh branch, customer usage has declined significantly in the last five years which is why we have taken the difficult decision to close the branch on Friday 13th February 2015.

In addition to the option of online, telephone and mobile banking customers can undertake everyday transactions at the nearby Post Office. We hope the range of alternatives including digital banking and Post Office access will help to ease the transition for our customers as we move out of Sedbergh.”

– Kay Eccles, Community Leader for Barclays in Cumbria

Farron: 'The impact will be huge'

Some branches of Natwest and Barclays bank are closing across Cumbria Credit: PA

Branches of the Natwest banks in Sedbergh, Shap and Milnthorpe and Barclays Bank in Sedbergh are to close over the next few months.

A reduction in the number of customers using rural branches of the banks has prompted the decision. NatWest is planning to extend its mobile service to the affected areas.

"The impact it will have on the community will be huge, on the high street and the businesses there, the ability to bank cash takings both with Barclays and Nat West will be huge."

– Tim Farron MP, Westmorland & Lonsdale, Lib Dem


'why are we paying someone £700 per day'

Cumbria County Council's facing criticism for spending £700 per day on a communications consultant.

The council is currently facing cuts of about 90 million pounds over three years.

A spokesperson says the external expertise will save money in the long-term but opposition councillors say the cash could be better spent:

Next stage for Newton Rigg College

Newton Rigg College now has four times more students than it had three years ago, and boasts that "agriculture's time has come again".

The latest stage in a three million pound development of the site was officially opened today.

Hannah McNulty was there, to find out why more students are taking up land-based studies there.

'Agriculture on the up' for students at Newton Rigg

300% increase in the number of students at Newton Rigg College Credit: ITV Border

A newly refurbished learning centre at Newton Rigg College near Penrith has been officially opened.

It's part of a £3 million investment in the campus, which was taken over by the Askham Bryan College three years ago. It's had a 300% increase in the number of students attending the college since then. Course leaders say worldwide demand for food means land-based courses are more popular than ever.

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