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The Lanes visitor numbers down on last year

The number of visitors to The Lanes shopping centre in Carlisle dropped by almost 100,000 people compared to the same time last year.

Nearly 760,00 visited the centre between December 1st and Christmas Eve this year. In 2012, the figure was 872,000.

Commercial Director David Jackson puts it down to changing shopping habits and increased online sales.

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Shoppers hit the Christmas sales

Shoppers in Cumbria and the south of Scotland have been braving the bad weather as they hit the Christmas sales.

New research from Begbies Traynor, an independent business recovery practice, suggests many shops need it.

It says 151 UK retailers are now facing "critical" financial problems, up 8% from the last quarter of 2012, while the number of retail businesses with "significant" financial issues rose by 15% to 15,792.

The number of shops in each sector experiencing "significant" distress has become worse in second hand stores and market stalls, followed by food, drink and tobacco retailers, electrical goods merchants and clothing and footwear retailers.

Bad weather expected again across the region

A landslide blocked railway in Cumbria after severe weather Rose Hill Harrington. Credit: Gary McKeating

More bad weather is predicted to sweep across the region today.

It follows flooding in the Scottish Borders and across West Cumbria yesterday and over the weekend.

Train services were disrupted and are expected to be affected again today.

Labour leader gives anual Christmas message

Ed Miliband, leader of the Labour Party has sent his best wishes to the nation this Christmas.

He said that although most of us will be off work and with family this festive period we should think of those who are not:

"As Christians prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, we should also take time to think of all those alone or suffering at this time of year. I would like to pay particular tribute to the many people, churches and charities who will be looking after those who are alone or homeless this Christmas time. We should also pay tribute to those who will be working so that the rest of us have an enjoyable break, especially our medical staff, our police and our armed forces, thank you for your service."

– Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Labour Party

Road closures in the Borders

With strong winds and snow forecast. Localised flooding has affected some areas.

A Met Office Yellow (be aware) warning for wind remains in place for the region until midnight tonight. This could lead to debris on roads. .

The A7 south of Hawick has closed to due a landslip. BEAR Scotland and the Council are at the incident and are working to get the road re-opened. Flooding has also resulted in two minor road closures:

· WB6401 Eckford-Morebattle road at Caverton Mill

· B712 around Drumelzier

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Willie Rennie's Christmas message to supporters

Willie Rennie, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, has released his Christmas message for supporters.

He urges us all to reflect on the last year and take some time to make a special effort to reach out to others this Christmas.

“As we mark the loss of close friends and distant heroes it’s important to take a moment to think and reflect on the year. Christmas is also a time to make a special effort to reach out to others. Whether it be the distant friend, the estranged family member or the quiet neighbour, Christmas is a good excuse to make new. It’s also a time to reflect on the year past with its successes and its challenges."

– Willie Rennie, leader of Scottish Labour Party

Weather causes chaos for Christmas commuters

The big Christmas getaway is underway, with tens of thousands of people taking to road and rail for the festive period.

The weather is causing problems though - with high winds and heavy rain.

People are being urged to travel early to avoid delays with more bad weather forecast overnight and tomorrow.

Our correspondent Hannah McNulty reports.

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