22/07/2011 Midlands Today


22/07/2011

The latest news, sport and weather for the Midlands.


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Hello and welcome to Midlands Today. The headlines: worst of all - a

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damning report says people here have fewer qualifications than

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anywhere else in the country. cannot see how those people will

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get any of these double jobs in that private sector without the

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training. Families' fury - the derelict homes cannot be demolished

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because they are in a conservation area. You're still living in a

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decimated aerial. Ridiculous. the club in debt and a player

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exodus - Blues fans form a protest group to oust the club president.

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And a makeover to turn back visitors to what was once one of

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Good evening. Tonight, bottom of the class. How we are lagging

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behind the country when it comes to education. One in three adults have

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no qualifications at all in Birmingham, that is according to a

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report from the university and college union. It was a whole

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generation of people will fail to meet their full potential and they

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want the government to address the problem urgently. The Prime

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Minister warned he close down failing schools and replace them

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with academies. Being stretched and challenged, the

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children at Codsall School are the lucky ones. There are six times

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more likely to end up with qualifications here than if they

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had been born less than 30 miles away. He we are just down the M6

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where it is a different story. This is the Hodge Hill constituency and

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according to a survey, one in three people of working age here have no

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qualifications whatsoever. I have no qualifications. It might be

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because there is a lot of poverty here. I have qualifications. I have

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an NVQ and GCSEs. It leads the list of eight areas listed in the top 20

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blackspots in the West Midlands. have whole communities here in the

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West Midlands where people between 16 and 64 have no qualifications at

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all. Other blackspots include Birmingham Ladywood were a quarter

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of adults have no qualifications. Stoke-on-Trent Central also fares

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badly. In South Staffordshire, the figure drops to 5.8 % and stone

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comes out best with just over 5.6 % of adults having no qualifications.

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The MP for one of the worst affected places says a whole

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generation is being led down. young people in Birmingham are rich

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in talent but their hopes are being dashed by the tripling of tuition

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fees, cuts to maintenance allowance and the closure of projects

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designed to help people back to work. The Prime Minister was quick

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to refute claims it was down to government cut. David Cameron used

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a visit to Jaguar Landrover to announce a �25 million fund to

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create 10,000 apprenticeships. is not about money. What cities it

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is about failure in terms of tolerating bad standards. What

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Michael Gove has said is he will not tolerate schools that fail.

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They will be taken over by academies. Codsall School which had

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an outstanding Ofsted report says they deer qualifications to the

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individual. Students need good levels of qualifications, so that

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is our job to make sure they go from this school prepared to be

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successful in whatever they choose to do. School's out for summer but

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it seems far our region's children There is not a level playing field.

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Perry Barr was another area which fared badly in the report. 19 % of

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adults there have no qualifications but once caught trying to make a

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difference is Perry Beeches Secondary. It was classed as

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failing just four years ago but recently won the national title of

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Outstanding School of the Year. Joining me now is their head

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teacher at Liam Nolan. You are what they call a super head teacher.

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Great at inspiring young people. What is the first thing that needs

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to be done to turn the statistics around? I do not think it is quite

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May. It is about the community realising how important it

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education is. People like me and my youngsters, we do not win the

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lottery. That is not our way of getting jobs and achieving in life.

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It is making our communities realise that education is the way

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through. Getting decent qualifications in practical subject

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boring subject that mean you can go to higher education is important

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for our youngsters and that is what we have done here. 74 % of our

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youngsters lead -- leave... I note you have some great results but I

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want to ask, it is really tough in some areas because pupils have no

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families with history is of qualifications and some tennis they

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have never even worked. You are right. Some of our youngsters here

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are second or third-generation youngsters who have unemployment in

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the family or without qualifications. But what you have

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to do it is instil in those communities and families that if

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you do not pass the exams in school, there are still chances and

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opportunities beyond school time in our local colleges, but also to get

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those grades while you are in school and it has worked here.

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Although we are up to criticism, this is one of the best schools in

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the country. You have done a fantastic job. The PM says failing

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schools, he was shut them and turn them into academies. Is that a good

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idea? Perry Beeches is becoming an Academy the summer and it is about

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time we have created families of schools, so that schools that were

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not doing well sit alongside schools that are doing well and we

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can learn from each other, which is the best way forward. It is the

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young people that are important. Thank you.

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Later: as we await the arrival of Jamaica's finest athletes for the

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Olympics next year, celebrating one of the island's best loved exports.

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Families have reacted furiously after council refused to give the

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go-ahead to demolish abandoned homes. The houses are due to be

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pulled down as part of a regeneration scheme to improve

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housing in Stoke on Trent, but the council says they cannot be

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bulldozed because they are in a conservation area.

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Middle poured in Stoke-on-Trent is classed as a regeneration zone.

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These streets are now also in a conservation area. Mick Poole have

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lived here all his life. He is dismayed at the progress of the

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plans to improve homes here. plans were to knock these downs and

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get a private builder to build them. Build new properties and it would

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have looked nice. But all that has gone by the board now because they

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have run out of money. These houses were due for demolition but now the

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council has turned down plans on the grounds it would be detrimental

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to the character and appearance of the area. It is like living in

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Beirut. You cannot say it is something nice to look at. It is

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diabolical. You have all the people out now, they might as well knock

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them down and build new ones. are still living in a decimated

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airier. Ridiculous. You just wonder what is happening. Disgusting.

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There is nothing here in Middleport. Boarded-up houses. This was

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declared a conservation area earlier this year. It means,

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according to the council, that different rules apply here. The

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council says it is sympathetic to family's concerns. There Rye

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Heritage issues at stake. It is important we get it spot-on. It is

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unclear when or if these houses will be cleared, nor is it certain

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what will go in their place. In other news, hundreds of jobs

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have been secured at a biscuit factory after its parent company

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announced plans to keep it open. The Fox's biscuit plant in

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Uttoxeter was thought to be under threat. Northern Foods had

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previously announced it planned to replace them with one new factory

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but the company now says it will invest �27 million to keep both

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sides open. Engineers have given their support

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for plans for a new high-speed train line between London and the

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Midlands. Institute of Civil Engineers says cutting journey

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times between Birmingham and the capital will regenerate parts of

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the Midlands as well as increase capacity. Their support comes days

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after the Institute of Economic Affairs said the plans were

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economically flawed. It is not so much about the journey times, it is

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much about the capacity increases that high-speed will bring. It

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brings a change in capacity that we need. Two Birmingham MPs are

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putting their differences to one side to work together against plans

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for a directly elected mayor the city. Three years after the

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electors voted to get rid of the role, Birmingham and Coventry are

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both due to hold a referendum on the proposal next frame. -- spring.

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A clear thumbs-down from the electorate of Stoke-on-Trent for

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the idea of a big city boss to re- energised local-government, but

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Boris Johnson and before him Ken Livingstone had proved formidable

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champions for London. But this is not London, say MPs from different

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parties joining forces for what they see as dictatorship. If you

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elected me, you will have one person, all powers will be

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concentrated in his hands. What role has the council got? You have

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100 elected councillors pay money every year, what will they do?

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Lib Dem MP would consider standing himself although he does not think

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there should be a contest at all. It is a bad idea to concentrate so

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much power into a one individual. However, if I sorted out the

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problems in family courts by the time one goes to nomination, I

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would be interested. The fact that he is a man of strong and clear

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opinions on this and everything else, it is great and it is

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wonderful that he is sticking his neck out. Already throwing their

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hats in the ring the former Labour MP for Birmingham Erdington Sion

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Simon, the leader of the city's Labour group are that Paul and John

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Bull lookalike way you go. The former Labour Defence Secretary Bob

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Ainsworth could also become a candidate in commentary. We have

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been here before in a reference -- referendum 10 years ago. The idea

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was rejected and almost all councillors opposed it. Now the

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mood of that opposition may just be softening a little. If the

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referendum next May delivers a yes vote, they would be under starter's

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orders for 12 months on end. Patrick is with us now. Referendums

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next year, maybe then, elections after that. It seems like a long

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process. Supporters of the idea think it is ridiculous, it is far

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too long they to generate a bit of a man term with this referendum and

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then you say we will go into suspended animation and to

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dissipate all that energy. Far better to move smoothly through a

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campaign phase in the autumn and have elections then. Against that,

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it would be more expensive. It would be cheaper to have male

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elections on the same day as main elections. Any others who have come

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into the reckoning? Clare Short, Birmingham lady would MP, Mike

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Whitby the Conservative lead the -- leader of the ruling coalition.

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Digby Jones has said in the past that he would be interested and Bob

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Warman, we have heard of him, the news presenter is apparently

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considering his options. Presumably there will be others? A supporters

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say there should be an ambitious head hunting exercise. To ginger up

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the really top talent and the public life of this country. Thank

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:13:58.:13:58.

Record numbers in our prisons, but how does it actually feel to be in

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jail? And after a week of bad weather,

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this week will be brighter and a bit warmer.

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The prison population of England and Wales has hit a new record high.

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There are now more than 85,500 people locked up in our jails at a

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cost of millions of pounds a year. It has reopened the debate of what

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to do with offenders. Is the money better spent on

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rehabilitation projects? A replica sell has been set up on the streets

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of Stoke-on-Trent. These former inmates are re-

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enacting time spent in prison. They are part of the Go to Jail project

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which hopes to raise awareness about living conditions, cell size

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and privileges. The standard sale size was meant for one, but with

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the prison population in England and Wales almost doubling of the 20

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years to over 85,500, overpopulation has become an issue.

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Inevitably the size of the cell is crucial, and if you want to help

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people rubella -- rehabilitate, they need that space. Across the

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region there are five prisons of a capacity, including Shrewsbury

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Prison which is 65% of capacity. Hewell Prison is 16% and Dovegate

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in Staffordshire is 7% above capacity. More than 50% of inmates

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are shown to be defend within a year of being re release. Akiel

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served six years for drug offences and has not really offended, but he

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believes overcrowding has a detrimental effect. For somebody to

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nourish themselves mentally, they need their own space. Just not

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being too close to someone, smelling their body smells, it's

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that Iraq... I think that is a basic human right. Visitors have

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mixed views. It is like shoving a big Alsatian in a budgie cage. It

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is inhumane. I do not think they should make anything easy for

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people up there. But space is running out. Today the government's

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announcement means there is just under 2,500 spaces left in England

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and Wales, and projects like this raised questions about whether or

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not offenders should go to jail. A series of events are being held

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across the region this weekend to mark the countdown to next year's

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Olympic Games. One of them, Jamaica Live in Birmingham, will see a

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celebration of culture, food and music, and all this week we have

:17:03.:17:13.
:17:13.:17:13.

been looking at the City's Jamaican connections. Our Arts and Culture

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correspondent Satnam Rana looks at her reggae has influenced

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performers. A look at what is to come in

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Birmingham's Victoria Square tomorrow. The next generation

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bringing Caribbean signs to the city, which will host the Jamaican

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track and field team in 2012. But the signs of Jamaica have been with

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:17:44.:17:46.

us for over five decades. Kingston time, the place I long to be...

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When you think of reggae and Birmingham, UB40 comes to mind. The

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:18:02.:18:13.

genre went mainstream in 1978, but Formed in Handsworth, this band is

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famously remembered for Handsworth Revolution. We were talking about

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how things were then, and we were expecting a revolution because that

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is what was building up within us as individuals. Back in his old

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stomping ground, the former vocalist's memories are very vivid.

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We did not here ourselves or the music from Jamaica on the radio, it

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was what was heard at home, it was on the sound systems... It was a

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whole alternative experience. many Jamaicans came to make burning

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began and surrounding cities their homes from the 1950s onwards, with

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the then came music and culture. But what role does reggae play in

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society today? This is the height of the Jamaican community in

:19:03.:19:13.
:19:13.:19:14.

Birmingham, and the heart with regards to music is still reggae.

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But his musical journey has taken him to new notes. He has gone on to

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form the UK's only reggae Philharmonic Orchestra.

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challenges expectations when you say reggae. This orchestra is the

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evolution of everything Caribbean, everything British, and what is

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just to come. -- what is still to come. This musical journey will

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continue to change, along with society and its culture.

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Let us join Satnam now. She is in Cathedral Square in Birmingham.

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What are the highlights for the weekend? Look at this, the No Fit

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State Circus will be live in Chamberlain Square tomorrow as part

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of the Birmingham Hippodrome's Open weekend celebrations. Elsewhere, in

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Worcester, 12 Moves Flashmobs will be taking place - dancers begin

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creatures to life from Worcester to Droitwich to Bewdley. If you fancy

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dancing yourself, head to Coventry. You can breathe the beat with

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others. On Sunday, BBC Midlands will be at the Blists Hill Museum

:20:30.:20:35.

in Shropshire, for some community games, and you too can try your

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hand at Victorian activities. If you fancy South Asian arts, head

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down to their The Public in West Bromwich, where you can attend the

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Arts Mela hosted by Sampad. Across the region over 60 events are

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taking place, you can get them by going to the BBC website and

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navigating your way through to Open Weekend. Back to you.

:21:07.:21:13.

All very energetic! Football - Birmingham City's

:21:13.:21:19.

midfielder Barry Ferguson has joined Blackpool. His move is for

:21:19.:21:22.

an undisclosed fee. Some fans are so concerned about

:21:22.:21:27.

the club's finances, they are forming a protest group to ask

:21:27.:21:32.

questions of the board. They are Blues fans, and they are

:21:32.:21:39.

feeling blue. The more we get out there... But Kevin Roberts, Darrell

:21:39.:21:42.

Meekcom and Thomas Hill are prepared to do something about it.

:21:42.:21:48.

This is why they are unhappy. want the club to tell us that they

:21:48.:21:52.

can keep us going, that they can afford to run the club. If they

:21:52.:21:58.

cannot, put it up for sale. It it is embarrassing. You cannot hold

:21:58.:22:05.

your head up in public, we are a laughing stock. A all we get is

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bits back of the internet, nobody is standing up and saying anything.

:22:10.:22:17.

We just want integrity, honesty. They have formed an online campaign

:22:17.:22:22.

group calling for Carson Yeung to leave Birmingham City. They plan to

:22:22.:22:27.

protest at next week's home friendly against Everton. It has

:22:27.:22:31.

been a six month roller-coaster ride for Birmingham City, from the

:22:31.:22:38.

joy of the calming clock to the John... Now president and part

:22:38.:22:42.

owner of Carson Yeung faces five charges of money-laundering in his

:22:42.:22:47.

native Hong Kong. He has given his 18-year-old son Ryan a place on the

:22:47.:22:54.

board. The club have sent me a statement where they say that other

:22:54.:22:58.

fans on social media are stressing how important it is to back the

:22:58.:23:03.

club. The promise to keep fans in forms of development. These fans

:23:03.:23:07.

say they will back their new manager and the team, but they were

:23:07.:23:12.

worried that they will be hampered by off-the-field problems.

:23:12.:23:16.

The fans I have spoken to are very deeply concerned about the future

:23:16.:23:22.

of Birmingham City. Now, in its heyday as one of

:23:22.:23:26.

England's great country houses it was visited by King Edward the

:23:26.:23:31.

Seventh and Edward Elgar. Witley Court stands in glorious

:23:31.:23:34.

Worcestershire countryside. Net tens of thousands of pounds have

:23:34.:23:39.

been spent recreating its gardens in an attempt to dig halt the

:23:39.:23:45.

decline in visitor numbers. In its heyday, Witley Court stood

:23:45.:23:52.

in 25,000 acres of parkland. Owned by the Earl of Dudley, it hosted

:23:52.:23:57.

many an extravagant party. All that changed when much of the house was

:23:57.:24:03.

destroyed by fire in 1937. The restoration of this but there for

:24:03.:24:07.

some fountain got 72,000 visitors to the site eight years ago, but

:24:07.:24:15.

numbers have dwindled. Compared to before, visitors are still above

:24:15.:24:22.

what they were before. But we are competing with a lot of tourist

:24:22.:24:27.

attractions, we are a very weather dependence site as well. To boost

:24:27.:24:33.

tourism, gardeners have re created the landscape designed by him

:24:33.:24:37.

renown Victorian architect, William Andrews Nesfield, in an Italianate

:24:37.:24:43.

style. Even down to things people regard as mistakes, in the side

:24:43.:24:47.

beds some of the circles are not the same size, and we had to

:24:47.:24:51.

recreate that. Hopefully people will come back year after year

:24:51.:24:55.

because it is never going to look the same two years running. It is

:24:55.:24:59.

always going to be a slightly different design. We have got lists

:24:59.:25:05.

of plants that we know were used in this garden, it is quite a big list.

:25:05.:25:10.

Colourful, manicured, intricate, but it is not just formal gardens

:25:10.:25:16.

that England -- English Heritage are relying on. This lake has been

:25:16.:25:20.

created also. You can see kingfishers, great crested grebes

:25:20.:25:26.

and other birds that live on the lake. Opening up the food path

:25:26.:25:29.

gives visitors here a new perspective. There are great new

:25:29.:25:34.

views of the church and Witley Court, the use that once would only

:25:34.:25:40.

have been enjoyed by the Isle of Dudley and his visitors. Now, the

:25:40.:25:50.
:25:50.:25:53.

We will have a bit of sunshine this weekend, but not a wall to wall.

:25:53.:25:57.

Tomorrow is going to be a slow improvement on today in terms of

:25:57.:26:02.

brightness and less wetter weather. This weekend high pressure is going

:26:02.:26:08.

to remain in charge for us here, making the weather becomes settled,

:26:08.:26:13.

brighter, less in the way of showers, but there will be some.

:26:13.:26:21.

Tonight, any showers we have seen will be clear ring to expect a

:26:21.:26:26.

mainly dry night to come with a few clear spells to come. Temperatures

:26:26.:26:32.

well below, but not that low. Nose of nine Celsius overnight tonight.

:26:33.:26:37.

Those clear spells mean a bright start to tomorrow, rather on the

:26:37.:26:42.

sunny side but the warm weather means a few showers will spring up

:26:42.:26:47.

with fair weather cloud. The showers will be like, and fairly

:26:47.:26:53.

well scattered. Highs of 20 Celsius, 68 Fahrenheit. It will feel OK in

:26:53.:27:00.

the sun. Tomorrow night, it should be dry. Lows of around 12 Celsius

:27:00.:27:05.

as we go into the start of Sunday morning. Over the next few days we

:27:06.:27:13.

are talking about that was settled weather - 21 Celsius, settled into

:27:13.:27:17.

the start of next week. A little bit of summer.

:27:17.:27:23.

Thanks very much. A look at tonight's main headlines. A bomb

:27:23.:27:27.

causes a massive explosion in Oslo. At least seven people have been

:27:27.:27:30.

killed. A shocking new report reveals

:27:30.:27:34.

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