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New budget will "keep important services" in place

Scottish Borders Council has set out its budget and spending priorities for the next year.

"We have a budget that looks at trying to make savings across all services, but keeps very much in place the important services that people really appreciate.

One major element of our budgetary savings is to look very carefully at staff terms and conditions and a range of different budgets to make sure that we are delivering our services as efficiently as we can."

– Councillor David Parker, Council leader

Borders' budget outlined for next year

Scottish Borders Council has set out it's budget proposals for the next year.

The local authority needs to make savings of £3.8 million between 2013-2014, and a further 27.5 million over the next 5 years.

They have honoured an agreement with staff to make no compulsory redundancies, but have made changes to staff terms and conditions.

That means new staff will be placed on a different rate, and there will no longer be pay awards of incremental pay increases.

£191 million will be spent on the Borders' infrastructure over the next 10 years, including projects like Town Centre Regeneration for Galashiels, Selkirk and Newtown St Boswells.

£450,000 has been earmarked for flood protection in Jedburgh after the Skiprunning burn burst its banks last year.

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Campaigners say cutbacks would damage tourism

Jack Ellerby, Friends of the Lake District Credit: ITV Border

Plans to cut spending on Britain's forests by more than a third could have a serious impact on this region according to campaigners.

In an open letter to the government department DEFRA, the Forest Campaigns Network say that cutbacks would damage the tourism industry and lead to the closure of popular local tourist attractions and car parks:

Jack ellerby, friends of the Lake District:

"The government's own figures show that public forests are worth 400 million a year to this country. They bring tourism, work to raise air quality and provide timber.

"If they are not managed and resourced properly those benefits would be lost."

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D&G Budget shows 'commitment to investing in local economy'

“Our draft budget demonstrates the Administration’s commitment to investing in the local economy even in difficult times by investing in our schools, supporting small businesses through our planned preventative maintenance scheme and still avoids compulsory redundancies while continuing to keep our Council Tax the lowest in mainland Scotland.

“We believe our budget is a good answer to a challenging question; how we continue to invest in our region when the public finances are under more pressure than ever.”

– Ivor Hyslop, Council Leader, Dumfries and Galloway Council

Fresh job cuts on the horizon

Dumfries and Galloway Council Credit: ITV Border

Dumfries and Galloway council have announced budget proposals for 2013/2014, which would see spending cut by £7.2 million.

In the draft budget plans, more staff jobs would be cut through voluntary redundancy and early retirement schemes.

Cuts in educational roles and reduced funding for community projects are just some of the plans proposed in the list of 27 individual saving options.

The full budget proposal can be found here.

West Cumbrian drop-in centres

Members of the public in West Cumbria get to have their say about council budget cuts this week.

A series of drop in sessions are taking place over Copeland Borough Councils proposal to cut more than two and a half million pounds by 2015.

Whitehaven's Civic Hall, Library and Tourist Information Centre are being sold off, further proposals include raising parking charges, removing flowerbeds and closing public toilets.

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