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Good evening. Welcome to Tuesday's Midlands Today from the BBC.
Tonight: Economically flawed and not commercially viable - that's
the verdict of an influential think tank on the proposals for High
Speed 2. Doing nothing simply is not an option. The line which would
link Birmingham and London would cost around �17 billion and cut
travel time down to 49 minutes. the latest research by the
Institute of Economic Affairs claims HS2 will cost the taxpayer
Good evening. Economically flawed and not viable - the conclusions of
the think tank over the high-speed link between Birmingham and London.
The Institute is an independent think tank which undertakes
research and comments on economic affairs. But those in favour of the
high speed railway line have disputed the figures quoted.
On the animators drawing board HS2 is flying along at top speed. In
the real world, it's hit the buffers, again. In an
uncompromising report the think tank, the Institute of Economic
Affairs, or IEA, says the high speed rail project is:
Economically flawed, with exaggerated time savings and
fraudulent green credentials. The project it says makes false
regeneration claims about closing the north-south divide. And, above
all, it's a political vanity project. It's not like defence or
help whether benefits are spread across the nation. It will be a
small number of rich people who will use it and everyone else has
to pay for it whether they've used it on not. Needless to say the
report found a captive audience at the Stop HS2 Headquarters in
Kenilworth. But judging by the first three people we met, views
remain mixed. Everything I have read about it, it does not make
sense. It is not economically feasible. Nobody in the area is
going to help. I do not disagree with having a high-speed railway,
but they don't seem to know what they are doing and I don't think it
is going to benefit this area at all. I am for it. I think we need
more high-speed rail links in general. If proof were needed of
just how emotive this issue is, within minutes of the IEA's
reporting reaching us, my email inbox pinged to the sound of a
rebuttal. It was the Yes To High Speed Rail campaign, saying the
report was full of myths and weak research. And the report failed to
convince other HS2 supporters, like Richard Butler from the CBI, who
met me at Birmingham's Millennium Point, close to where the HS2
terminus would be built. I think the report uses very emotive
language. The CBI are supporters of High Speed 2. It will bring
benefits to the region. The report is missing the point in that we
need to do something. Doing nothing is not an option. Up grading the
current system is almost as expensive as High Speed 2.
public consultation on HS2 ends in just ten days, with a Government
decision expected at the end of the year. If it gets the go ahead,
construction could start in 2017. But the arguments around it are
likely to run on for much longer. With us is a work political editor.
It is not helped by the computer graphics. Where is the objective
truth? Everyone in the campaign seems to have an axe to grind. This
evening, a work Collings on BBC Coventry and Warwickshire have
established that one of the Co authors of that report just happens
to live at Burton Green, which is on the route. The Transport
Secretary has pointed out that so many of the arguments against high-
speed rail just happen to come from people who live on the line? How do
you assess the balance of the argument? There is an interesting
spread of argument. If you go to the comment section of my block --
blog. Other towns have benefited from a high-speed links. We are so
short of money and will a shiny new vanity project comes along and
there are funds available. We will have the report on the consultation
at the end of the year. Next year the Government really has to make
decisions, whether to scrap it, modify it ought to press ahead with
minor modifications, like landscaping and tunnelling. Where's
your money? I think there will be a high-speed rail system, but it
depends on the modifications. you. Later in the programme - find
out how one of our oldest manufacturers is planning on making
more out of the lucrative export market. And joining on the day that
Aston Villa Brickfields and new signing and a new shirt. -- reveals
a new signing and a new shirt. Taxpayers are having to cough up
for a religious statue after public donations dried up. The statue of
the Blessed John Henry Newman was due to be erected in a park where
Pope Benedict XVI held a mass last summer. Although it's expected to
be a destination for pilgrims the statue's yet to go on display
because of the concerns over its funding. 6 ft tall and resplendent
in gold - the statue of John Henry Newman seated with a scholarly gaze.
It was blessed by the Pope soon after he arrived for the
beatification mass last September. Organisers had said that pilgrims
could come here to view the staff are. A 10 months on and it is
nowhere to be seen for such a a There was an awkward stage where
the piece have been finished and there was not the money to pay
Furyk. A huge amount of money had to be raised for the papal visit.
When it came to paying for this, pockets were not deep enough.
work was commissioned by Birmingham City Council and they have decided
to make up the difference. The pub we did not raise the money
initially, but yet the council is putting in public money. We had to
honour a commitment. There are huge economic benefits ants it improves
the profile of the city. So what about the statue? It will not go
ahead because of concerns over vandalism and theft. It can come
here to the Birmingham Oratory. Ironically this is what the
artist's great uncle JRR Tolkien was raised by a Catholic priest and
were later this year Newman's statue could go on permanent
display. Sandwell Council has been told it
won't receive any money from the government to replace the Building
Schools for the Future programme which was scrapped last year. The
project would have seen nine schools in the borough rebuilt or
refurbished. Instead, local authorities will be invited to
apply for funding from a new rebuilding programme. The
government says the fairer system will identify schools around the
country in most in need of repair. Sandwell Council has called an
emergency meeting to consider its next option.
The MoD has announced that the Defence College of Aeronautical
Engineering at RAF Cosford in Shropshire is to be moved to
Wiltshire. It follows plans announced yesterday to move Defence
Technical Training to RAF Lyneham. It's thought the transfer will
happen in around four years time. Drivers in Gloucestershire are
being asked to sign up to a safer driving scheme aimed at reducing
speeding in rural villages. Motorists in Hardwick, near
Quedgely, are logging on to a website to pledge that they will
stick to the speed limit. It's hoped the softer approach to
motorists will encourage them to slow down. If successful the
project could be expanded elsewhere in the county.
Parents have staged a protest over a plan to end full-time care at a
city's council run nurseries. The SureStart centres in Coventry look
after young children so their parents can go out to work. Many
are in deprived areas. But the council says it has to make savings
from its child care budget. They have only known for a week
that their children's nursery care is under threat, but these parents
are already letting councillors know how angry they are. Some
parents will give up work. I have had parents all over the city say
to me, I'll go on to benefits. Earlier, Samantha Lyle was amongst
parents who dropped off children at the SureStart in Tile Hill. Taylor
has build incredible bonds with everyone here. To tear him away
from it will be catastrophic. have been using the service for
nine years. I have got three children. I love nursery.
campaigners had been told alternative nursery care is
available in Coventry, but it will cost up to �20 a day extra and
parents can't afford it. Some say they will have to give up work if
full-time nursery care is axed. The council insists cut in this service
is the least painful way to make savings on the children's care
budget. We need to target our resource better it so that the most
vulnerable children in our city can benefit from the help we can give
them. At the moment, we will not be able to do that so we have to look
carefully at all our budgets and targets resources more carefully.
The final decision on the cuts will not be made until the autumn. Still
to come on the programme: has autumn come early? Find out what is
happening to our horse chestnut trees.
A car components factory is to close with the loss of 157 jobs.
Kongsberg Automotive makes parts for car seats and has been based in
Burton-on-Trent for more than 50 years. The Norwegian company is
transferring production to Poland. It is devastating. This is a
specialist manufacturer and workers have a specialist skill. Some
people have been here for 30 years. It is a highly skilled UK
manufacturer, specific to Burton. They are a staple in many country
kitchens and many of those who have them say they would never swap them.
So how will Aga devotees react to news the traditional cooking range
manufacturer is bringing out a new type of cooker? Like many big name
brands, AGA has struggled during the recession and that's what
prompted them to add to their range. As our Business Correspondent Peter
Plisner reports, it could also mean more jobs at the firm.
The latest production line at Aga's Telford factory. Workers are
bringing about something of a revolution with the first
controllable cooker. Opened the door and we have a whole new game.
Traditionally, the choice was everything on all Aree think of,
but that is changing. Everyone looks at their bills over different
economic periods. In addition to that, people are looking at the
kind of energy they are using. For all the reasons, the right reasons,
this product scores highly. That should be the case for Aga as well
as it will boost sales. It has been a difficult time for the company,
but demand is picking up again and this new product will capitalise on
it. Aga has been around for 300 years and its cookers up the
fixture of many country kitchens. Experts agree that innovation is
key. We need to ensure that all our manufacturers are adding as much
value as they can to their products and their brands. That is the thing
that will make the most competitive on an international stage. That is
where the company is heading. Only 20 % of current products are
exported. It is hoped the new Caulker will be a recipe for
success all over the world. - that the new cooker.
Birmingham City fans are meeting tonight as part of a campaign to
remove Carson Yeung from the club's board. Yeung was arrested in Hong
Kong last month to face five charges of money laundering
involving sums of �59 million. Yesterday his 18-year-old son Ryan
was appointed to the club's board. Fans are concerned about the Blues'
finances and how Yeung's arrest could affect the club. There is a
double unveiling for Aston Villa. They are showing off their new
shirt and new signing. Our reporter is there now.
The fans have turned out in numbers, but there has been some concern
over the play at traffic. -- player traffic. They have redressed the
balance now or wit the signing of Shay Given. I am really excited.
The last few days I had been raring to go. I had my first training
session today. It was pretty exciting. We have also spoken to
the Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish. We are still trying to
bring in another player. I am not at liberty to mention names. We are
hoping to speak to one of the current players. They are getting
ready in their new kit. Let us talk to a former player. Shay Given - is
he a bonus? Definitely. He is a great guy and a great addition to
the team. We asked Alex McLeish how much money will be spent on new
signings. He has argued that some players are like new signings.
we need to get the best out of the players that we have got and maybe
give the youngsters a chance. a fresh start with Alex McLeish.
They did not want him, but the fans have turned out to see him. Aston
Villa fans are loyal and they have turned out today. Hopefully they
will be buying a few strips as well. It is good to see them. Everyone is
starting to get the bars for the new season. I am looking forward to
it. Do you miss it a little bit now that you are not playing? Yes.
you think Aston Villa can turn the tide? Hopefully. We have been close.
There will be a few changes, eight new doctrine. Hopefully we can do
well in one of the competitions. The new kit will be unveiled in
about 15 minutes. It seems despite the controversy this summer, Villa
fans are supporting their club. More than 80,000 cricket fans will
be heading to Birmingham next month for the third Test match between
England and India. For many, it will be their first glimpse of
Warwickshire's new-look, multi- million pound stadium. But this
afternoon Edgbaston opened its doors to Ian Winter.
It has a passing resemblance to a spaceship from Star Trek. Do not be
fooled. This is at Edgbaston, Jim, but not as we know it. -- Edgbaston.
The home of Warwickshire County Cricket Club has had the mother of
all makeovers. Builders have been busy creating a world-class Test
match arena. Inside the home dressing room there is based for
the players to get changed in comfort. It is brilliant. It is a
world-class facility. All the lads are looking forward to playing here
regularly. In the Jaguar at sweet, VIPs will be wined and dined.
needed world-class facilities. We had to make sure that we remain
ahead of the competition. The new stadium has cost �32 million and it
has raised the capacity of Edgbaston to 25,000 spectators. On
the skyline terrace there are spectacular views of Birmingham
city centre and the cricket. And in the press box are the best seats in
the House. So far, they have sold more than 80,000 tickets for the
game and that his music to the ears of the driving force behind this
massive project. Without this investment, Edgbaston would not be
staging international cricket, which would be bad for the club.
Monday Prince Philip will officially open the new stadium. In
September they will find that if they will host a Test against
Australia in two years time. It is absolutely breathtaking.
Now, have you taken a close look at your local conker trees? It may
only be July, but many of of our horse chestnuts look as if they are
ready for autumn and are vovered in brown, withered leaves. The cause
is a tiny moth and now researchers want to track just how far this
destructive creature has spread by using mobile phones. And our
Science Correspondent David Gregory is with some affected conkers trees
in Birmingham now. David, this is all the fault of the leaf-miner
moth, yes? Yes. And if you walk through a line
of conker trees you notice these tiny moths. As small as a staple.
Flying about. Now they spend winter in the leaf litter under the trees,
and now they are rising up.. And laying eggs on the chestnut leaves.
And it's the eggs that do the damage, they hatch into
caterpillars that mine inside the leaf leaving ugly brown marks. Like
autumn has come early. They call so much damage because they have three
generations a year. Bees the trees will get progressively Brownite and
it looks as if Alton has come early. In Cheltenham, this is the damage
done by one generation. With this new app, you can take a photograph
and rate the damage. You can add your location, which the firm does
automatically. Finally, there is a question about grounds cover
because the scientists are interested in what is going on
underneath the tree. Then you send it in. You will not just be helping
conker trees. It will preparer so we can understand more about other
invading of colonising in sex and blood diseases in the future. So
all the information we get now will be invaluable. But this is still
the little moth that remains a big problem for a World conker trees.
If you don't have a smart phone, you can use a special website to
track the conker trees in your area. For more information, please look
at the website. Bonkers about conkers! And now for
the weather. Kenny believe we are in the middle
of July. It has not felt like it today. We have seen some showers.
As we go into tonight, we expect to see Clairette skies. -- clearer
skies. There will be some mist and fog patches. Showers are heavier in
the east. We are looking at lows of around 11 Celsius. Tomorrow morning,
more cloud moving in. There will be more showers as well. There is some
brightness, but it will be limited, as it has been for the past few
days. Highs before 19 Celsius. Tomorrow night, a similar picture.
Friday, you can see that low pressure will be around. Dry and
Tonight's main headlines: a Commons hearing on the phone hacking
scandal was suspended after a protester tried to attack Rupert
Murdoch. And here, a new report says high-speed rail is
economically flawed and not commercially viable. That is all