New drivers in Hawick face 3 month wait for driving test

New drivers in Hawick face a wait for driving tests of at least 3 months as no permanent examiners are based in the town’s test centre, it has been revealed.

In response to questioning from John Lamont MSP, the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has admitted that their Hawick test centre does not have any permanent examiners.

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Record high coastal deaths show importance of St Abbs lifeboat

New figures from RNLI show the number of people killed off the UK coastline last year was the highest since records began in 2011.

In 2015 some 168 people were killed while 385 lives were saved in “near-fatal incidents.” More than half of fatalities are from those who do not plan to enter the water, taking part in activities such as walking, running, climbing or angling.

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Scottish Borders Council urged to rethink bus budget cuts

Scottish Conservative MSPs John Lamont and Rachael Hamilton have met with representatives from First Group to discuss their proposals to cut routes in the Scottish Borders.

First Group have announced that they will be cutting 11 loss making routes from across the Borders.

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Lamont calls on support for NHS Borders as half of all cancelled operations due to lack of resources

Too many operations are being cancelled in the Borders because of a lack of resources, local MSP John Lamont has said in the Scottish Parliament.

In response to a Parliamentary Question, the Health Secretary, Shona Robison agreed that cancelled operations were an issue but refused to commit any extra resources to help address the problem. She also claimed the problem was improving, when in fact in NHS Borders the figures have been concerning for over a year.

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New Rural Affairs Minister ‘unable’ to say how many farmers in the Borders have been given CAP payments

The new Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Fergus Ewing MSP has been unable to give a figure on how much of the £50 million due to farming businesses in the Scottish Borders in CAP payments has been paid.

In response to questioning in the Scottish Parliament from John Lamont MSP, Mr Ewing was unable to provide any breakdown of regional figures, instead saying the Government hoped to get money due to famers “as soon as possible.”

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Lamont urges coastal communities in the Borders to bid for share of UK funding

The UK Government has announced a further £90 million will be made available to support economic development in coastal communities across Scotland.

The Coastal Communities Fund, which is financed by revenues earned from the Crown Estate’s marine activities has already invested more than £120 million in coastal projects across the UK. 

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Scottish Government needs to get a grip over CAP payments ‘fiasco’

The Scottish Government’s controversial CAP payments IT system is so inadequate that the Scottish Government could face a fine of £125 million, a new Audit Scotland report concludes.

As at March 2016 the programme was spending a staggering £4 million a month, meaning funding could run out before the system fully meets European Commission regulations. Non-compliance could lead to financial penalties of between £40 million and £125 million being imposed on the Scottish Government. 

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Lamont welcomes new universal service pledge for broadband

John Lamont MSP has welcomed a pledge in the Queen’s Speech today to create a universal service provision for broadband, giving residents across the country a legal right to a minimum speed of 10mbps.

A Universal Service Obligation will mean anyone can request a 10Mbps internet connection, and will be in line for compensation if the service is sub-par. Although the details are yet to be ironed out it might look similar to what currently exists for postal and telephone services. 

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Flood appeal deadline

Time is running out for those individual households or community groups wishing to apply to Foundation Scotland Flood Appeal. 

Local MSP John Lamont is today urging individuals and organisations affected by flooding in the Borders to apply for funding before the deadline of 4pm this Friday (27th May).

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Lamont welcomes UK Government support for Borders Rail Extension

Recently re-elected MSP John Lamont has welcomed news today that the UK Government views the extension of the Borders Rail to Hawick and on to Carlisle as a “realistic prospect.”

Speaking in Edinburgh today, David Mundell MP, Secretary of State for Scotland said everyone was “of a mind” that the line should go on to Carlisle and pledged to work closely with the Scottish Government on a feasibility study.

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