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Council hears details about new Scotrail operator

Councillors in Dumfries and Galloway heard details about the new Scotrail franchise operator's plans on Tuesday 14th January.

Abellio Ltd won the contract in October and will run train services in the region from 2015-2025.

The council raised concerns about some of the proposed changes.

"Councillors were happy with increased services to and from Stranraer, but concerned at the removal of direct services to Glasgow and back and people will need to change at Ayr.

"The extra services on the Nith Valley line between Dumfries and Carlisle were also welcomed by councillors , but it is disappointing that most of the changes on this line won't even take place until December 2017 and overall it looks as if very few improvements are being made in our region when compared to other areas"

– Cllr Colin Smyth, Chairman of the Economy, Environment and Infrastructure Committee said

Extra funding for D&G cemeteries

Dumfries and Galloway Council will provide more money to maintain its cemeteries Credit: ITV News Border

Dumfries and Galloway Council says it has set aside extra funding to clear-up cemeteries which need their grass cutting.

It follows a number of complaints since it was revealed that some graveyards would only have their grass cut three times a year in order to save money.

Overgrown areas will be monitored more closely for the rest of the growing season.

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  1. Joe Pike

Labour attempt minority administration of D&G Council after coalition collapse

The Labour leader of Dumfries and Galloway Council has told ITV Border his party will attempt to form a minority administration. That's after the SNP group quit the ruling coalition yesterday after just eight months sharing power with Labour. Joe Pike reports from Dumfries:

Cemetery grass keeping cut back is 'unacceptable'

A council has been accused of having a lack of respect for the dead, after bringing in a policy which will see grass cut in some cemeteries just three times a year.

Dumfries and Galloway council has to make almost £30 million pounds of savings in three years. It says cutting back on the upkeep of cemeteries with low usage is one of the ways it can save money.

Local people say the policy is thoughtless.

Fiona McIlwraith reports:

Reducing grass cutting is a 'savings opportunity'

Across Dumfries and Galloway, DGFirst manages and maintains 1,200 areas of ground and open space.

It was agreed in the council's budget in March that grass in rural cemeteries would be cut three times a year.

"Our Council has to make savings of £27m over the next three years. It is absolutely essential that we prioritise where we need to spend money and where we can save money. Reducing or stopping grounds maintenance on little used areas is an obvious example of a savings opportunity."

– Councillor Stephen Thompson, chairman of DGFirst Management Committee

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MSP believes D&G council's policy is 'discriminatory'

Rural cemeteries in Dumfries and Galloway will be overgrown and unkempt if current restrictions on grass cutting remain in place according to a senior politician.

The council say they need to make savings of £27 million over three years and need to prioritise.

Dumfries MSP Alex Fergusson says he is disgusted that the amount of annual grass cuttings per year was reduced to three in March's budget.

Annandale Councillor joins Labour

Annandale North Councillor Graeme Tait has announced that he has joined the Labour Party and therefore became a member of the Labour group on Dumfries and Galloway Council.

Councillor Tait was first elected to the council in the Annandale North by-election in November 2012 as a Conservative member.

The Labour Group on the council is now up to 15 members while the Council’s administration now has 25 members.

I have decided to join the Labour Party because it has become increasingly clear that their policies and values better reflect my own.

It is clear that the Labour Party and the Labour Group of Councillors care about tackling the inequalities that exist and protecting the most vulnerable in our society and I share those principles with them.

“I have been hugely impressed by the way the new Labour led administration has run the council. The Council Leader has shown strong Leadership and put in place the clear direction the council has needed.

– Cllr Graeme Tait

Funding for 'Star of Caledonia' on hold

Dumfries and Galloway Council has postponed a decision on whether to come up with £1 million pounds towards the Star of Caledonia sculpture in Gretna.

Councillors say they need more time to look at the funding process before giving the money.

One million pounds has already been pledged from other sources to help pay for the landmark on the Scottish English border.

The council will look at the funding issue again at a meeting to be held in May.

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