14/07/2011 Midlands Today


14/07/2011

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Tonight we are at the dustcart manufacturers. Business confidence

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is growing and exports are up, but economic growth is weak. This

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company is doing well, but others aren't. We spent the day with

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several other companies on this industrial estate.

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This a firm makes high-visibility clothing, but it has not protected

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them from be up and down -- from the ups and downs of the economy.

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They are being forced to seek out new markets. It has been

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challenging, but we were not let it affect us. Staffing levels have

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remained the same throughout the downturn, but for some it has been

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a worrying time. I have been made redundant twice before. My husband

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has just had a massive pay cut, so everyone is concerned. Here, the

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music is different. This man set up his business at the height of the

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recession. Despite that, it is one of the most successful businesses

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on the estate, but the weak economy is having an effect. People are

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cautious. They are careful and considered that about what they

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spend their money on. And here is a good illustration of how weak the

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economy is in some sectors. A wine merchant we featured when we were

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last here has gone out of business. The decorators are getting the unit

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ready for another customer. Thankfully here, most firms are

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still in business. This double glazing firm is doing well, but the

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managing director admits that drove his flat. Business is OK, but it is

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flat Crowfoot wise. We haven't seen any sense 2008. The report may say

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things are getting better, but I cannot see it. Then is no doubt

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that confidence is improving, but with the economy still weak, there

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is no covering up the fact that we are not out of the woods yet. Still

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more pessimism that optimism about the recovery. Earlier, we spoke to

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the local MP. He said any companies that want to grow need to make sure

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their plans are sustainable. The is an opportunity to be optimistic. It

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takes people like myself, the chambers, even some of our media

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outlets to make sure this message of confidence is regained and

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improved. It is something we need to work together on. Joining me

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here is one of the managers of this company. What is the picture here?

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The order book is growing and production is going up. A lot of

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people have suffered because the council orders have gone down.

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is true. They are lagging behind. Most of our new business comes from

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the private sector. Our export up? The yes. They are encouraging. --

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yes. What about jobs? We have not laid people offer as much as we

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could have done when it turned down. When it turned up, we have to

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achieve the Bonham's by productivity. What DC for the next

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three months? Increased production and order intake. A mixed picture

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from here, but we are heading in the right direction.

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Thank you. Later in the programme we will hear about an engineering

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firm that has just opened a new factory in Telford. Also, a job be

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used for the car industry in Shropshire. -- a job be used.

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A Shropshire man has been found responsible for a murdering an

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antiques dealer in the county 17 years ago. Jurors at Birmingham

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Crown Court decided that 59-year- old Robin Ligus killed antiques

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dealer Trevor Bradley in 1994. Ligus is facing two further counts

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of murder. This is 59-year-old Robin Ligus, a

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father of three from Shrewsbury. Today he was found responsible for

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killing Trevor Bradley, an antiques dealer from Ludlow, who's body was

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found in a burned out car in 1994. In 2009, Ligus was charged with his

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murder and also went on trial accused of killing two other men in

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Shropshire in 1994 - 57-year-old Brian Coles and 36-year-old Bernard

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Czyzewska. Robin like this was considered unfit to enter a plea.

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The jury was asked to consider whether he was responsible for that

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deaths of those men. The jury said he accepted he had murdered Trevor

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Bradley. And they did so after hearing this apparent confession

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played in court. The court heard that Ligus is currently serving a

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life sentence for murdering pensioner Robert Young in 1994.

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jury of six men and six women is still considering the cases of

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Brian Coles and Bernard Czyzewska. They will resume their

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deliberations tomorrow. There are still more revelations to

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come. That's the view of the MP who's played a key role in exposing

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the phone hacking scandal at Rupert Murdoch's News International

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newspaper empire. In an interview with BBC West Midlands' Hard Talk

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programme, Tom Watson said the work he was putting in on it was having

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an impact on his family life and causing him to spend less time on

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constituency issues. This next report contains flash

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photography. A local face thrust into the

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spotlight in what has become an international media storm over

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phone hacking. We are only halfway through this. We are here because

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of one or criminal investigator. Many other investigators were hired

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by News International. A stark warning from the West Midlands MP

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who has been investigating the News of the World for two years. Can I

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ask the Prime Minister to make inquiries as to whether the

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families of the victims of 9/11 were targeted? I felt inadequate

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because there was nothing I could do. These people would not stop.

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People went through out what dustbins, they went into our garage,

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upset our neighbours. He went on to become a villainous voice when

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hacking first came to light. It won him admirers. Watson has been a

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terrier with his teeth in the trousers of Mr Murdoch's

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Organisation for several years. He is not afraid and he keeps going.

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It is a distressing and hard, but he has hung on. Great accolades for

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Tom Watson at Westminster where he is the backbencher of the moment,

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but this is his constituency and people wonder whether their local

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MP should be focusing on our phone hacking or issues that affect them?

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There are lots of things that need doing in West Bromwich. It is

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something to fill of the newspapers. He needs to get things done. I am

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proud of him. He has done a great job. I wanted to get to the bottom

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of phone hacking, but I still want to get legislation on that metal

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theft in West Bromwich. There is a day-job but I still find rewarding

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and satisfying. His next job - to help quiz Rupert Murdoch, his son

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James and Rebekah Brooks went all three have faced a -- when all

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three face a select committee next week.

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Our political editor is here. Tom Watson says that he has been

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distracted. Will that change? could. He says we are only halfway

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through all the revelations. His market value on that lucrative

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North American lecture circuit will be higher. Also at this whole

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firestorm could extend to the News International operation over there.

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You can see times are changing for him. He had been giving interviews

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to ours and the New York Times. There is also that new hairstyle,

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which is always a sign that upward mobility! -- a sign of upward

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mobility! What about his position at

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Westminster? Well he will be high profile. There is an element of

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settling old scores. How did he get so involved? He says it landed in

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his lap. He was on the culture committee when these allegations

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started to surface and unlike almost everyone else, he felt he

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could not turn a blind eye. You felt that dossier it may still just

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be a work in progress. Thank you. You can hear that into view in for

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by going to a website. -- interview. Walsall council workers began

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receiving letters today detailing how much they will gain or lose as

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a result of changes to pay grades. The restructuring is being brought

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in because of equal pay legislation. Hundreds of employees showed up at

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union meetings this afternoon after receiving their letters. One in

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five of them face a pay cut. Among those to lose out is 59-year-old

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social care worker Margaret Adams from Willenhall.

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I have been dropped about �2,500 a year and the night and at once has

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dropped. I used to get it for 10 out words and now it is early for

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eight hours. 29 years with Walsall council. It is not fair. I am

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really angry. The family of a man murdered in his

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house as his six-year-old son slept upstairs have made a fresh appeal

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to the public to help catch his killers. Police say they are

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reopening the inquiry into David Currier's death. He was found with

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a stab wound to his leg at his home in Bromsgrove in 2009. Cannabis

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plants were found growing at the house and police say his death may

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be drugs related. His sister says his little boy talks about his dad

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all the time. He says he wishes he could go up

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into the sky and bring his daddy back. He often blows kisses into

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the air for him. When he gets his suite, he saves some and puts them

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on his dad's grave. Soldiers have been describing what

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it's like to come under fire from the Taliban. The 3rd Battalion, the

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Mercian Regiment, which recruits from the Midlands, are in

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Afghanistan helping train the Afghan army and police. So far, 375

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British soldiers have died in the conflict. 32 of those were from

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this region. In the second of our series of special reports, Louise

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Brierley looks at what life is like for them on the frontline.

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Soldiers from the Mercian Regiment on patrol on the front line in

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Helmand province. For many this tour has been their first

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experience of modern warfare and they are never far away from danger.

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This is Private Josh O'Hare from Solihull. He was caught in an

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incident involving and improvised explosive device. It was pretty

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hard to deal with that. Unfortunately, there were at two

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casualties. One was killed in action. I was about five minutes

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away. I didn't know how many casualties there were or anything.

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At base there is not much time before these troops had to leave

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again to go back out to protect a local town from the Taliban. This

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soldier has completed several tours of duty. If we were not here, the

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local communities would be taxed and intimidated. Their children

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would be stolen from them, especially their daughters. We

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provide a safe thing Baron -- environment for them. Conditions

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are tougher with temperatures reaching 15 degrees and they do not

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have the luxuries of main bases. The soldier has also completed

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several tours. He it is pretty basic. There is no air-conditioning.

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We have a well for water and we are on rations. But the guys enjoy it.

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For many, the front line is what joining the army is all about, but

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for others, it can be overwhelming. I would not mind coming back, but

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it is not something I would want to do every day. Is that because of

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the conditions? Yes. And obviously getting shot at. A risk these men

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face every day. And still to come: do not get comfortable with the

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weather because it is going to get changed -- it is going to change.

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More later. Now, earlier in the programme we

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heard about that positive business survey. There's some more good news

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today for car parts firm Stadco, which has opened a new factory in

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Telford today. The news comes just weeks after its largest customer

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Jaguar Landrover announced record sales and plans to create 1,000 new

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jobs in the West Midlands. Manufacturing is well under way at

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Stadco's new factory in Telford. 50 new jobs have been created with

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dozens of others in associated injuries. 90 % of the part it makes

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here and in factories around the Midlands are supplied two car

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companies in the UK. There is tremendous optimism about car

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manufacturing in the UK and we hope to take advantage of that. It is

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good news that parks are being made locally. But it has not always been

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such good news. In the depths of the recession this company reduced

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its workforce from 1,000 to 600 at sites across the UK, including

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Coventry. Now employment is back to levels before the recession. This

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man is back in employment after a rough time. He is a supervisor here

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in a similar role for a similar salary. I did not see it coming. I

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have never been out of work in my life before, but now I have a job.

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There is empty space here, but this company says it is expecting growth.

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Sport now, and the day that golf fans wait all year for. Today is

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day one of the world's oldest and most famous major - The Open. Fans

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from across the world have flocked to Sandwich in Kent to see who will

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win the famous claret jug. But they could have gone to Rednal, near

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I morning, ladies and gentlemen. From a Northfield, Isobel Godfrey.

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She was opening up for a different generation. This school has its own

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golf course. They are learning how to play fair and support each other.

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Today was not just about competition. Support from the Golf

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Foundation meant there was tutoring from professional players. Best to

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leave it to the experts - the children. It is calm and quiet and

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you can just have a game with your friends and have a nice

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conversation. We have won at nationals once and we had been

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pretty the finals twice. That is why we think we can win today.

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it turns out she was right. The tournament was won by the home team,

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but perhaps the biggest achievement is that 120 children from inner-

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city Birmingham were playing golf. They had better aware that there

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than they did at Sandwich. Wool is on the comeback and it is making

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our sheep farmers money. We feel better because we have to

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share our shoot anyway. It is better to do it when you are making

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money. -- away sheep. Three years ago, Simon was getting only 66p for

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this fleece and it was costing apparent. Now the price is �2.80.

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It is not enough to make wool farming a viable on its own, but it

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is a bonus. It is good news. gives us more incentive to go out

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and asked for more money. At this shop they are turning back the

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clock when it wool meant wealth. It specialises in all kinds of Gollum

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products and the market is warming up. I think it is starting to have

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such a big comeback in this country. People are realising what an

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underrated production wool is. It is versatile. People are loving it

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and they realise what a super product it is. A sentiment welcomed

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by Simon Edwards and all the other sheep farmers in the region. Some

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good news in a sector of Agriculture at that really need it.

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And now for the weather. Today was a pleasure, but tomorrow

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and the weekend might not be. If you are hoping for rain, then you

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will get it. It will be windy with lower temperatures. We see this

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area of rain swirling around on beat South eastern corner of the

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country. But that is not what is going to affect us. There are

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weather fronts coming in from the West. However, tonight will be

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clear. Temperatures will drop to a minimum of eight Celsius, but

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double figures in built up areas. Tomorrow, it will start sunny and

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dry. Through the day the clouds will thicken from the West. That

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rain will arrive towards the end of the day, into the evening. It will

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not last very long and it is also fairly light rain. Temperatures are

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still warm. 21-22 Celsius. Tomorrow night we will see the rain come

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through and it will be fairly heavy later on. A look at the main

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headlines: Rupert Murdoch and his sons James agreed to appear before

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MPs to answer questions about the hacking scandal. And police are

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