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National fire service 'will remain local'

The Borders new senior fire officer, Peter Heath Credit: ITV News Border

The new senior fire officer in the Borders says the fire and rescue service in the region will be enhanced, even though it is being nationalised.

Peter Heath will head up the service in the Borders alongside Mid and East Lothian from an office at Galashiels Fire station.

The 45-year-old from Innerleithen was appointed to the role following the announcement that all eight fire and rescue services in Scotland will be merged into one.

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Government advisors in Hawick and Galashiels this week

A twenty a day smoker spends on average £50 a week on their habit, enough to feed a family of four for a week.

This week the Scottish Government is sending experts in breaking nicotine addiction to pharmacies in Borders towns to give free advice.

Stand location details are:

Mon 21st Jan - Morrisons, Mart Street, Hawick

Tues 22nd Jan - Asda Currie Road, Galashiels

Scottish Secretary welcomes help for rural motorists

The Berwickshire MP and Scottish Secretary Michael Moore has said motorists across the Borders will welcome the decision by the Chancellor to abandon a planned 3p rise in fuel duty, due in January:

"I think that it's particularly important that the Chancellor has abandoned the proposed fuel duty increase. That will help motorsits across the south of Scotland and the north of England, and in rural areas.

"As well as that, we've got a cut to people's taxes- taking low and middle income tax payers out of tax all together and reducing the burden on others.

"For people across the south of Scotland and the north of England that's very important."

– Michael Moore, Berwickshire MP and Scottish Secretary

'More could be done to encourage employment'

Stephen Winyard, who runs a luxury spa and hotel near Peebles, is not completely haapy with the Autumn Statement:

"There's no need for haulage costs to go up- we depend on an awful lot of suppliers during the year, so that's a very welcomed initiative.

"But there's no reduction in national insurance contributions which we all know is a tax on jobs.

"I also have issues on the minimum wage- there are market forces out there, but minimum wages tend to start at the bottom and ripple their way up to the top of an organisation, therefore it's not helpful in encouraging employers to take on more staff.

"I'm a little disappointed as more could be done to encourage employment."

– Stephen Winyard, Managing Director, Stobo Castle

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'It's all about small businesses in Cumbria"

Sally Fielding owns holiday cottages in the Lake District and believes that cancelling the fuel increase will help small businesses and tourism in the region:

It's important for ordinary people, and ordinary people is where the recovery is going to start.

"Cumbria is so sparsely populated, everyone I know gets in the car everyday to go places and to do things, so if we can start there, then brilliant.

When people come and visit Cumbria, they come in their car because it's so isolated, you have to be able to drive.

It's all about small businesses in Cumbria. We've got a few big employers who do employ a lot of people, but the majority are small businesses working together, helping each other and building the economy that way. "

– Sally Fielding, Owner, Sally's Cottages

'They're listening to the working person'

Chris Reay, the managing director of Reays coaches in Cumbria, has welcomed the news that the fuel tax increase proposed for January has now been scrapped:

"I think they're actually listening to the working person, and that's where we need to turn this country round.

"Obviously they've abolished this tax rise which is fantastic for me as a transport business, but it's for everybody because it transcends right through the food chain. It's brilliant. "

– Chris Reay, Managing Director, Reays coaches

ITV Border's business club give budget reaction

Stephen Winyard, Chris Reay and Sally Fielding Credit: ITV Border

Three leading business people in the Border region have been watching George Osborne's budget speech and sharing their opinions.

The three members are Stephen Winyard who runs Stobo Castle near Peebles, Chris Reay from Reays Coaches in Wigton and Sally Fielding from Sally's Cottages.

All of the Border business club members are looking for a freeze in fuel duty.

In the large rural areas of Cumbria and southern Scotland, the cost if fuel impacts every area of business.

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