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D&G Council budget cuts a 'sad day' for the region

Credit: ITV News Border

Dumfries and Galloway Council Leader Ronnie Nicholson said that yesterday's announcement of £21million budget cuts was a 'sad day' for the region.

The cuts will mean a loss of 250 jobs at the council alone, with many more expected in other organisations.

Councillors turned to cutting a pack of cards to settle the final vote at the lengthy meeting.

Four separate budgets had been proposed, but after a tied vote following abstentions and council leader Ronnie Nicholson declining to use his casting vote, the decision was made by cutting a pack of cards.

The council say the savings are needed to bridge a gap in funding as a result of a 4.5% cut in the council's grant by the Scottish Government.

“There is no doubt that making £21.193m of cuts to our Council’s budget was a sad day for Dumfries and Galloway.

"The cuts by the Scottish Government are the single biggest attack on local services for a generation. You cannot save in one year £21.1m without impacting on services and these proposals are still very tough. What makes me so angry about having to make these cuts is the fact that the UK Government’s grant to the Scottish Government has actually risen by 0.6% this year but the Scottish Government have still chosen to go ahead with slashing council budgets. They could and should have been avoided by the Scottish Government”

– Councillor Ronnie Nicholson, Leader, Dumfries and Galloway Council

Amongst the proposals rejected by Labour were cuts to winter gritting primary routes, the scrapping of a Taxicard scheme for the elderly and disabled, the scrapping of the gull control scheme and proposals to scrap Instrumental Music Instruction.

The budget also rejected proposals to close a number of leisure facilities such as Hillview Leisure centre, Beechgrove sports Centre, Newington Leisure Center and Castle Douglas Swimming pool.

However, the leader of the SNP Group at Dumfries and Galloway Council accused the Labour Administration of “robbing bairns’ piggy banks”.

“This budget will see Teachers removed from Nursery classes and other childcare providers facing a gloomy year ahead as their contracts have been shrunk or in some cases may disappear altogether”.

“The move to bring children currently in out of region placements in a variety of nationally acclaimed care settings back into Dumfries & Galloway should be supported but at a more modest pace. When you add in this Administration’s cuts to the cleaning budget in schools, despite head teachers’ concerns, and the branding of youngsters leaving the care system or in the Youth Justice system by introducing an easily identifiable pre paid card system.

"Shockingly, they will be the only children in Dumfries & Galloway with a type of pre-paid card to present for bus travel and other services and as such easily identified”.

– Andy Ferguson, Leader of the SNP Group on Dumfries & Galloway Council

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Businesses see red over council paint row

Pete and Cyn Downham outside the front door of their shop "Fairy Croft" Credit: ITV News Border

Two businesses inn south-west Scotland are fuming after their councils complained about the exterior façade of their buildings.

Pete and Cyn Downham have been warned that their shop front door in Moffat contains too many colours and is not in keeping with the town’s conservation area.

The couple say that more than 1,000 people have signed a petition in support of their “Fairy Croft” shop door and say they are often complimented on the bright exterior.

In a separate case, owners of a Dumfries restaurant say their business could be at risk if they are made to change the paint on the outside of their building.

Owners of “Mississippi Grill House”, Craig Deman and Robert McAleese, say that replacing the current green paint with a more subtle colour, as suggested by council planners, could cost them around £10,000.

They are also worried that having a lot of scaffolding outside of the restaurant in order to carry out the work could deter potential customers.

Dumfries and Galloway council say that the current paintwork is not in keeping with conservation rules.

Vida Paul fights eviction

Vida Paul at her home Credit: ITV Border

An 80 year old woman is facing eviction from her home which will then be demolished because a Council say it's not fit to live in.

A court has ordered Vida Paul out of her Dumfries home, but her supporters say they'll fight to stop the action

The Dumfries Sheriff granted the eviction warrant because she's not carried out essential repairs.

Concern as shoppers desert Scottish Borders

Business leaders in the Borders have held, what have been described as 'important talks' with the council after a survey showed shoppers are staying away from eight Borders towns.

There's been a 17% drop in the numbers over the last four years.

Scottish Borders Chamber of Commerce says more can be done to boost local high streets.

James Aitken from SBCC told ITV Border:

'If you walk into any shop in the Borders it is an issue right across the board. That's why we are such supporters of the borders railway and broadband being improved. Business rates are a huge issue. We would ask the council to look at that again and see what help they can give. "

– James Aitken

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Tim Farron MP gives tributes to Brendan Jameson

Tim Farron, MP for Westmorland & Lonsdale**, said:

"A leader and a window cleaner - everyone here knew that Brendan Jameson wasn't a politician, he was one of us. Brendan was born and bred in Kendal and besotted with Kendal.

“Brendan was the first ever Lib Dem to lead our District Council, the man who brought recycling to every home in South Lakeland and who ensured 500 new affordable homes were built for local families, he also fought like a tiger to make sure that we got the Olympic Torch and Olympic investment into South Lakeland

"Brendan was a good friend, great company, a strong leader, a hardworking campaigner and a Kendalian to his core. I will miss Brendan immensely, and we will honour his memory by continuing to serve and protect the community he loved."

– Tim Farron MP

The deputy Prime Minister has paid tribute to the leader of South Lakeland district council Brendan Jameson who died unexpectedly at the weekend.

Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, said:

“I met Brendan many times as Leader of South Lakeland District Council; he was always a true fighter on behalf of his community, making sure they were heard by Government.

“The last time I was in Kendal I saw him at the opening of Chemotherapy Services at Westmorland General. He was so proud of another campaign success. Brendan and Tim were a formidable team – working together they did everything they could to make things better for people in South Lakeland.

“My thoughts are with his family today. He was a fantastic community champion and our party has not only lost a council leader but a true liberal and a great friend.

– Nick Clegg, deputy Prime Minister

Councillors pay tribute to colleague

Brendan Jameson Credit: Cumbria County Council

Cross-party tributes have been paid to Brendan Jameson, the county councillor for Kendal Strickland & Fell and Leader of South Lakeland District Council, who has died suddenly at the age of 66.Cllr Ian Stewart, Leader of Cumbria County Council's Liberal Democrat Group, said:

"I was shocked when I heard that Brendan had passed away at the weekend. For a man who was so full of life it came as a unexpected, bewildering and tragic piece of news.

Brendan and I had worked together for many years and his enthusiasm, hard work for his community and determination earned him my respect, which was shared by all those who came into contact with him.

It is especially sad that Brendan will not see the benefits of his hard work on the Olympics, which he had been a champion for at a Cumbrian, regional and national level. Our deepest sympathies go to his partner Julie and his family.

The County Council and Conservative Group Leader Cllr Eddie Martin also paid tribute:"Brendan had been a county councillor since 2009 and district councillor since 1999. He had dedicated over a decade to helping local people, pushing the case for South Lakeland and Cumbria and making a difference.

I worked closely with Brendan on the Cumbria Leaders Board and always admired his enthusiasm and approach to life. It is very sad that so much life and energy can be extinguished so quickly and unexpectedly."

Cllr Stewart Young, Cumbria County Council's Deputy Leader and Leader of the Labour Group, said:

"This has come as a bolt from the blue and is tragic and shocking news.

People from across the political spectrum in Cumbria have been rocked by Brendan's unexpected death, but our thoughts must go out to his close family and friends.

Chief Executive tribute to Brendan Jameson

The chief executive of South Lakeland District Council has released this statement paying tribute to Brendan Jameson

It is with tremendous sadness that we have been informed of the passing away of South Lakeland District Council Leader Brendan Jameson.

As an authority we wish to send our sincerest condolences to Cllr Jameson’s family and friends and we would gratefully ask the media that they respect the family’s privacy at such a difficult time.

– Lawrence Conway, Chief Executive of South Lakeland District Council
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