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Careful of 'free trials' warns council

"If something looks too good to be true, it’s probably a scam. A free trial could end up costing you a lot of money.” Credit: PA

People in Cumbrian are being urged to be avoid ‘free’ trials of goods after some people have been charged up to £95 a month for “free” products.

Shoppers are invited to sign up for a free trial of a product where they’ll pay around £5 for postage and packing. But unless the trial is cancelled within 14 days, monthly payments may be made automatically which could be anything up to £95 a month.

Cumbria County Council’s Trading Standards team is urging shoppers to read the terms and conditions when signing up for a supposed ‘free' trial.

If people are worried they’ve been targeted by this type of scam, they should contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 040506.

"This typically happens on the internet. It’s a widespread problem. The scams involve all kinds of products including anti-ageing miracle creams and serums, health supplements and slimming aids. They’re different products, but all the scams are virtually all the same.

When the product arrives the paperwork contains the small print or terms and conditions. This type of scam is operating on a wide scale and the companies doing this are often based abroad, some as far away as the USA. Consumers should be on their guard; if it mentions repeat billing and it’s a free trial that requires you to cancel then it’s probably a scam.

If something looks too good to be true, it’s probably a scam. A free trial could end up costing you a lot of money.”

– Councillor John McCreesh, Cumbria County Council’s cabinet member for Trading Standards

Bus stops: Meeting in Shap

The closure of a major bus route in Cumbria which has led to an outcry from local communities along the route.

One pensioner, says she's been forced to sell her house and move because the service between Penrith and Kendal has ended.

Several hundred people have signed a petition to get the route running again as Paul Crone reports.

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Council looks for alternatives after bus service cuts

People living in rural areas around Penrith are meeting tonight to discuss bus service cuts that have left many feeling stranded.

Cumbria County Council announced the cuts on routes from Penrith to both Kendal and Greystoke. The council says it can no longer afford to subsidise the routes and is looking at alternative ways of supporting residents.

Meeting in Shap to discuss bus service cuts

Cumbria County Council announced bus service cuts on routes from Penrith to both Kendal and Greystoke. Credit: ITV Border

People living in rural areas around Penrith are meeting tonight to discuss bus service cuts that have left many feeling stranded.

Cumbria County Council announced the cuts on routes from Penrith to both Kendal and Greystoke. The council says it can no longer afford to subsidise the routes and is looking at alternative ways of supporting residents.

The meeting will be held in Shap.

People to have their say on Cumbria Council savings

Credit: ITV Border

People can have their say on how Cumbria County Council should make its savings.

The Council needs to cut £83 million from its budget over the next three years. The first of a series of drop in events takes place at Windermere Library this afternoon:

  • Windermere Library, Ellerthwaite, Windermere, LA23 2AJ Tuesday 18th November 11.00 am - 1.00 pm
  • Kendal Library, Stricklandgate, Kendal, LA9 4PY Wednesday 19th November 10.00 am - 12.00 noon
  • Ulverston Library, Kings Road, Ulverston, LA12 0BT Thursday 20th November 10.00 am - 1.00 pm
  • Ambleside Library, Kelsick Road, Ambleside, LA22 0BZ Wednesday 26th November 11.00 am - 1.00pm
  • Kirkby Lonsdale Library, Chapel Lane, Kirkby Lonsdale LA6 2AL Thursday 27th November 10.00 am - 12.00 noon
  • Milnthorpe Library, 19 The Square, Milnthorpe, LA7 7QJ Friday 28th November 10.30 am - 12.30 pm
  • Sedbergh Library, Main Street, Sedbergh LA10 5BN Wednesday 3rd December 10.30 am - 12.30 pm
  • Grange Library, Grange Fell Road, Grange over Sands, LA11 6BQ Friday 5th December 2.00 pm - 4.00 pm

Parents: It's time to talk about alcohol

One report suggests that 57 per cent of young people in the North West believe getting drunk is normal. Credit: PA

With figures suggesting that more young people have relaxed attitudes towards drinking alcohol, Cumbria County Council are encouraging parents to urge their children 'to think before they drink' to tie in with Alcohol Awareness Week.

According to a survey by NHS Cumbria and Cumbria County Council, one in four secondary school pupils have drunk alcohol in the past week and children as young as nine believe that alcohol is a way of forgetting problems.

“Nationally there’s been a rise in the number of youngsters admitted to hospital. Alcohol consumption is a problem for many adults because it starts as seemingly-innocent drinking during their teenage years.

Childhood drinking can be an awkward subject for many parents or friends to approach. But avoiding this subject today leads to early death and massive social problems tomorrow.

There’s a clear link from young people drinking to other issues such as crime, mental health problems, and unprotected sex. Far from helping us forget problems, alcohol causes them."

– Cllr Ian Stewart, Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet member for Public Health

While the number of children drinking alcohol in Cumbria has consistently fallen since 1988, the latest survey results show that the issue is still a cause for concern, with 27 per cent of secondary school pupils saying they had drank alcohol in the week leading up to the survey.

Recent North-West-wide figures show that of the 14 to 17-year-olds who drink alcohol:

  • 57 per cent believe getting drunk is normal
  • 54 per cent binge drink
  • 40 per cent aren’t worried about the long-term health effects
  • 37 per cent drink just to get drunk.

This is underpinned by a national survey of nine to 11-year-olds that showed 60 per cent thought it was normal to drink to forget your problems.

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What will 1,800 job cuts mean for members of the public?

The council says it's having to make savings of £83 million over the next three years, on top of millions of pounds of cuts already made.

But 1,800 jobs is 1,800 households across Cumbria that no longer have that income - which may be the main income for the household. They will then spend less in the shops and so on.

It's worth noting that it's 1,800 jobs now but in the 8 year period between 2010 and 2018 the county council will have lost almost 5,000 jobs, that's around half it's workforce, and interestingly, almost exactly the same number of people in Cumbria who are currently out of work and claiming benefit.

Our correspondent Tim Backshall was at the County Council headquarters today and has the full report.

'Dark Times' for public sector

Meeting in Kendal this morning, the county council's cabinet members were in sombre mood. They say these are dark times for the public sector as it struggles to deal with reductions in its budget which mean that 1,800 council jobs will have to go.

The County Council says these are the biggest cuts it's ever faced and they will have an impact on lives, on families and on the local economy.

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