SCROOGES at Scottish Borders Council have backed down in their bid to ban Christmas card competitions in local schools.

For decades local politicians have challenged children within their constituencies to draw up a festive design.

And the winners each year are usually rewarded with a few early gifts.

But a ruling of unseasonal greetings from Newtown St Boswells was sent to all local primaries earlier this month - BANNING the card competitions.

John Lamont MP, who has run his own card competition for the past 12 years, was angered by the decision.

He said: “Running my annual Christmas Card competition is a highlight of my year – it’s always great to see the look on the face of the winner when they get their new bike, electric scooter or favourite toy.

“I’m not sure what objection someone has taken to this competition, which I’ve run problem free for years.

"No one at Scottish Borders Council has explained it to me.

“I’d like to assure all the young people in the Borders that Christmas will not be cancelled, despite this mean-spirited move."

Fellow Conservative politician Rachael Hamilton also called for a rethink.

The MSP said: “Last year, Alfie from Kirkhope Primary School was beaming from ear to ear after winning our annual Christmas competition.

“Surely our local authority doesn’t want to be like the Grinch and steal Christmas from our young creative school pupils who are brimming with festive inspiration, ideas and imagination.

“Perhaps the fairies and elves can sprinkle some Christmas cheer over the bah-humbug official.”

The local authority confirmed it had received complaints from parents about children taking part in competitions organised by politicians.

And it had attempted an outright ban.

But further meetings have taken place and pupils will now be allowed to draw and paint - as long as they have parental permission.

A spokesperson said: "We have taken a decision to allow our school children to enter competitions like this but we ask that they have the consent of their parents or guardians.

"This is in response to some previous concerns raised with us about the involvement of pupils in competitions organised by politicians."