A CONTRACT for operating core bus services in the region has been awarded without any competitive tendering.

Scottish Borders Council has given the £4 million contract for the 51/52, 60, 67 and 68 services to Borders Busses.

According to the local authority, which spends around £3.5 million a year to subsidise loss-making bus routes in the Borders, only Berwick-upon-Tweed based Borders Buses is able to deliver the required services on several core routes.

A spokesman said: "It is clear from detailed market research, particularly considered alongside the geography of the Borders area that there is no commercial or other type of market operator in a position to bid for the group of services in question."

Borders Buses is owned by Craig of Campbeltown Ltd purchased locally-operated Perrymans several years ago.