COUNCILLORS have rubber-stamped plans to close its own care alarm monitoring centre in Galashiels with the loss of around 20 jobs.

As we revealed earlier this week, bosses at SB Cares had been plotting the closure of the BorderCare control room behind closed doors, with staff and union representatives gagged from discussing the controversial move.

Out-of-date computer systems - and the costs associated with software upgrades - are believed to be behind the outsourcing of the service to East Lothian.

It was expected that confirmation would be given at a meeting in December, but BS Cares bosses added their plans at the last minute to the private business of today's (Thursday's) full Scottish Borders Council meeting at Newtown St Boswells.

And they delivered the news to angry staff at the Paton Street control centre this afternoon.

A spokesperson for SB Cares told us: “A report on alternative service delivery model options for our existing BorderCare service was heard in private by Scottish Borders Council.

“We are now meeting with staff, with support from our HR colleagues, explaining the reasons why it was necessary for us to consider these alternatives and setting out to them what these proposals might involve.”

Bordercare alarms are fitted in thousands of homes across the region to enable users to get help if they have an accident, a fall or suffer an illness.

The 24-hour control centre in Galashiels deals with all emergencies from the region’s elderly and infirm who are signed up to the service, which controversially increased in price last year from £156 to £280.

One insider told us: "One of the main reasons the Galashiels control room is closing down is that the software on the PCs is out of date.

"Social work could have upgraded the computer system but a lack of funds and knowledge has prevented this."