LOCAL MSP Christine Grahame is calling on Scottish Borders Council to have a rethink over covering the cost of lost and damaged property in last year's school fire.

As we revealed last week, bosses at Newtown St Boswells have rejected calls for the local authority to compensate for the loss of uniforms, PE kit, phones and bags which were left during November's Peebles High evacuation.

Many parents declined a £55 crisis grant offered in December as they expected to have their children's possessions returned.

But in recent weeks a lot of the items which were cleared from lockers and elsewhere in the school have been badly smoke damaged - and many items haven't been recovered.

As we revealed, Scottish Borders Council has advised parents and carers to make claims from their household insurance.

Ms Grahame believes a rethink is in order.

She told us: "Scottish Borders Council has its own insurance policy on the school, which should cover contents.

"I’d ask that it properly looks into the viability of allowing a claim for the destroyed belongings to ensure parents are not left out of pocket due to this highly unusual incident that was not of their making.

"A crisis grant of £55 was offered by the local authority in December for anyone who qualified, but many parents have claimed they didn't apply as they expected to have their children's belongings returned in due course - £55 is also only a proportion of what some parents claim has been lost, including clothing, phones and jewellery.

"The local authority has advised parents to make a claim through their own household insurance or, where this fails, to apply for a crisis grant through the normal channels to help with replacing the items which will be dependent on them meeting certain criteria – it is not intended as recompense."