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Hello, welcome to Midlands Today, coming tonight from the site near
Wolverhampton that's set to bring thousands of jobs to the region.
The headlines tonight. Jaguar Land Rover confirm they'll
build a new engine plant just off the M54 in Staffordshire, bringing
750 jobs to the factory alone. such a vote of confidence in the
West Midlands, in manufacturing in this country.
But is there enough skilled labour in the region to fill the highly
specialised jobs? Also tonight, terrorism swoop.
Police arrest six men and woman, and search 14 addresses. Some
computer equipment and other items are being removed and will be
examined in due course. And as the Lib Dems' conference is
underway in Birmingham, what do their supporters think of the party
Good evening and welcome to Midlands Today on the day that car
giant Jaguar Land Rover confirmed plans to create up to 750 jobs here
on the outskirts of Wolverhampton. I'm actually standing in
Staffordshire tonight at the i54 Business Park, very close to the
M54 motorway. At the moment it's a greenfield site, but within two
years it will be the home to a �355 million factory building low-
emission engines. Today's news is confirmation of a remarkable
turnaround in Jaguar Land Rover's fortunes. Indian firm Tata bought
JLR from Ford for �1.5 billion in June 2008, but almost immediately
the global financial crisis dramatically hit car sales. Tata
then announced plans to close one of JLR's massive West Midlands
plants at either Solihull or Castle Bromwich. But the company did a U-
turn as sales began to recover and now it employs 21,000 people in the
UK. With our first report tonight, here's our transport correspondent,
Peter Plisner. Just a warning of flash photography in his report.
Desperate to announce some good news, with the Lib Dem conference
just a few miles away, what better place to do it than Land Rover in
Solihull. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Business Secretary
Vince Cable here to confirm plans for the new engine plant. It is
such a vote of confidence in the West Midlands, in manufacturing in
this country. We have been very pleased to work with Jaguar Land
Rover on this. The Government's putting in just �10 million, a
modest amount, but according to Vince Cable: It is a demonstration
of our commitment to it and we want it to succeed. It is part of
benefits to the wider region. does the West Midlands need a
plant? More and more new models are in the pipe land and JLR needs its
own supply of engines, hence the reason they are investing. -- in
the pipeline. We have always said we would like to get control of a
key component of a car, which is in the engine, so it is the next step
of our growth strategy. And part of that growth stategy was on display
last week at the Frankfurt Motor Show. In all, JLR unvieled three
new models including a replacement for the iconic Defender. It's all
good news for JLR workers like Mike Cox. He's worked here for 16 years.
It is absolutely superb news of the business. We would never have
dreamt they would be getting the kind of news we have today a couple
of years ago. New plants, development. It is fantastic.
new plant will be the second factory in the Midlands producing
engines for cars. More than a decade ago, BMW set up similar
operation near Coleshill, in Warwickshire. This time it's
Wolverhampton and South Staffordshire that stand to gain.
am delighted. We have been waiting for this news for months and what
is really interesting is that in our area, many years ago, we
started losing jobs to the East, China and other areas. Butterfat
the growth for demand for Jaguar cars is growing in those markets. -
- but in fact. The new engine plant and today's ministerial visit
provides yet more evidence of what is a remarkable recovery from
recession. If all goes well, the first engines should be produced
within the next two years. And Peter's here now. It's just an
empty field at the moment. Can you elaborate on the timetable? Yes.
Any construction or planning should be easy because this site has been
designated an enterprise zone. That means relaxed planning laws and
also a new junction on the M54 needs to be built to improve access.
We should see this plant up and running within two years, perhaps
April, May 2013. We're talking about 750 jobs within the factory.
It does,in fact, mean so many more in the supply chain. What a
turnaround it is. Yes. It could mean three or 4,000 new jobs.
Jaguar Land Rover have made it clear but they want to do this but
it may be fewer in the long term. Just two years ago, they were
concerned they were on the brink of collapse. Now they are riding on
the crest of a wave. Sales are being powered ahead by emerging
markets like India and China. You could argue that the recession is
over for JLR. Although we are very close to
Wolverhampton, with the city centre just five miles away, the new
factory will actually be in Staffordshire. And that's great
news after the north of the county recently lost out on its bid for an
enterprise zone to boost business and jobs. But will the area have
the highly skilled workers needed by Jaguar Land Rover? Or will the
jobs ultimately go to people from other parts of the UK? Our
Staffordshire reporter, Liz Copper, has been investigating.
This is an investment that's been welcomed, supported and celebrated.
Within months this vacant business park will be transformed. Lying
adjacent to the M54 motorway, it's hoped this plant will boost the
county's economy. And the business opportunities will stretch far
beyond the boundaries of the site itself. Even people coming into the
area with skilled jobs will hopefully live in Staffordshire and
spend in Staffordshire, and that will have a knock-on effect on our
retail and housing. All in all, it is a very positive development and
very good news was that budget. Today's announcement has been
greeted with delight. But there is concerned about a possible skills
shortage. Building these engines require is a highly skilled
workforce. We are talking about specialised, high-tech
manufacturing capability, and at the end of the day, not everybody
can do that. It is a real feather in the cap for the heritage that
this area has in that sector. are marks with a long, prestigious
and distinguished history. This investment secures a commitment to
ensuring they continue to be made in the Midlands.
With me now is the leader of Staffordshire County Council,
Philip Atkins. Well, you've certainly got a big smile on your
face! It is absolutely fantastic news for Staffordshire, the
Midlands and the UK. And it is agencies working together? Yes.
Since March, we have been working very closely with Wolverhampton
City Council and others to bring this project to its conclusion
today and it is good news for the area. It clearly is terrific news,
but serious questions have to be asked. Where are the skilled
workers coming from? One of the attractions to the area is the
skilled work force we have here in the Midlands and in the Black
Country. But only recently, this area was reported as having one of
the lowest skill sets? If I was somebody looking at the programme
tonight, I would certainly start looking to enrol on many courses.
The schools are there. We have JCB and others as examples of the rich
engineering culture we have got in the West Midlands. There is also
concerned that there is not such interest in studying engineering
any more? Absolutely not! I would encourage anybody to study
engineering as it is the way to get the economy going again. We have
750 jobs and there will be thousands more in the supply chain.
Are we seeing green shoots? I think we are. The motor vehicles being
built from this engine will drive a or West Midlands economy. It is
JLR's decision came just ahead of a keynote speech by the Business
Secretary, Vince Cable, at the Liberal Democrat Party conference
in Birmingham. Our political editor Patrick Burns is there for us now.
Patrick, this announcement couldn't have come at a better moment for
them, could it? It's a timely coincidence. Industrialists could
hardly contain their excitement about this news. It gives the
people of the Midlands a boost, recognising that the skills are
here. We know that but it is when international companies make those
sorts of decisions that we are being recognised for the abilities
we have in the Midlands and discreet to see. -- and it is great
to see. It is a fantastic shot in the arm for the West Midlands. One
of the leading multinationals has decided this is a good place to do
business. Given the scale of the problem we have, including in the
Midlands, how much of a dent will the 750 jobs make? It is just the
tip of the iceberg. Once the plant is up and running, there will be a
large supply chain. For every one they have in their main assembly,
they have 10 supply in. Given the low skills base we have here in the
West Midlands, is there a danger that this will suck people in from
Dagenham and Bridgend in Wales, where they currently make the
engines for Jaguar cars? I have little doubt talking to the trade
Unionists and MPs that they are absolutely delighted that this will
help Walkhampton. There is a general problem in the UK of skills
shortage. But the West Midlands has a long tradition and we want to see
that industry revived. There are many around here who have the basic
skills and want to get back into work. For all these slightly
synthetic sideswipes, we are in this together. That is it for now
from the site. Much more on this story on the Midlands Today
Facebook page and I will be back later on the programme to get more
from middens motoring expert Professor Bailey.
Thanks, Nick. Also ahead tonight, as the countdown to London 2012
continues, the man in charge of the Olympics arrives in Coventry for a
progress report. And no simple way to describe this
week. Keep on top of the changes in a full forecast, coming up later.
Police forensic teams have spent the day searching 14 properties in
Birmingham after six men and a woman were arrested in a counter-
terrorism operation in the city. The health watchdog whose job is to
prevent another Stafford Hospital disaster is now too big and doesn't
have enough money. That's the diagnosis of Sir Liam Donaldson,
who was the country's Chief Medical Officer for 12 years. Sir Liam also
told the Stafford Inquiry how he had put photographs of children
killed by the NHS on a Health Minister's desk to get a message on
safety across. Our health correspondent, Michele Paduano,
reports. Sir Liam Donaldson was Chief
Medical Officer for 12 years. He told the Stafford Inquiry that when
he took on the job, safety wasn't a concept in the health service.
Getting the safety message across to health managers was like rolling
a boulder up hill. He also told how on one occasion, he put photographs
of dead children on Secretary of State for health, Patricia Hewitt's
Even so, Stafford Hospital campaigners were not impressed.
don't seem to have moved any way forward with the NHS with regard to
patient safety. We'll still getting huge amounts of untoward incidents.
What has he been doing about it? He is at the top. Health watchdogs
like the one that found problems in Coventry did work. But over time,
they stopped inspecting. He is concerned that the Care Quality
Commission is not working together and that it might be also -- might
be a too big to do the job. One former doctor who knew Sir Liam
Donaldson as a colleague said this of his performance: They have done
a few good things like getting the ban on public smoking. But he has
demonstrated how difficult it is in a political environment to achieve
some of your desired ends. Liam's own verdict is that the NHS
is improving, but it's got a way to And all the background to the
Stafford Hospital inquiry is on the BBC Staffordshire website.
Police forensic teams have spent the day searching 14 properties in
Birmingham after six men and a woman were arrested in a counter-
terrorism operation in the City puts up the police are not
revealing the nature of their specific offences but said they
work with MI5 to ensure public safety.
A green car is lifted on to weigh trailer by forensic teams. It was a
similar story at addresses across Birmingham. Police will not confirm
details but say they are at 14 addresses. Computer equipment and
other items have been taken away to be examined. Six men and a woman
were arrested at addresses across Birmingham last night. One
neighbour, who did not want to be identified, told us what he saw.
They put masks over their heads and put them in the van. The only ones
I know are the ones who live here, and they are good people. They are
not terrorists. Police said the action was needed to ensure public
safety. I fully understand that after such a counter-terrorism
operation of this size, the public will want to know more details
about what we suspect. The main thing for us is to investigate the
matter fully, professionally and fairly. Police have revealed,
however, that the arrests are not connected with the Lib Dem
conference in Birmingham. Suspect of being held for questioning, as
is a 22-year-old woman, who was arrested on suspicion of failing to
disclose information. Nick Clegg has hit back at his
critics at the Liberal Democrat conference in Birmingham. He said
suggestions he'd betrayed the party by sharing power with the
Conservatives were ridiculous. But what about the grassroots? Nearly
18 months on from the election, what do local activists and
supporters think of the coalition and its leaders? Giles Latcham
reports from a Liberal Democrat stronghold.
Cheltenham gives off an ambience. It's stately. Serene, even. In the
back streets, though, politically, it's a dogfight - Lib Dems against
the Conservatives. The parties that share power nationally are sworn
enemies here. You have got some lovely coconuts... We joined Lib
Dems for their monthly curry night and asked "what price the
coalition?" The coalition has been a huge challenge for us. We must be
honest. But we think we were right to go in it and we would be right
to stay in it. When I am canvassing, people say, we don't like the
coalition. When you ask why, it's generally, well, you might as well
be a Tory. Obviously, you have got the odd one or two to cannot
stomach that we all with the Conservatives. But we have got the
ear of ministers, whereas before we did not have the chance to get our
views across. His Nick Clegg the minister you
would have asked for? Perhaps it is time for him to put his foot down a
bit more and make the Lib Dems seem to be more involved with the
Government. He is in a difficult position but I think he is holding
his own. The town has a Liberal Democrat MP. The council is Lib Dem
controlled, but with elections next year, they face a stiff challenge
from the Tories. What, then, of the future? We need to celebrate
ourselves a bit more and get our message across. Our message to the
public that we are not Conservatives. You have only got to
look at Northern Ireland and other places where they are in coalition
and they are making things happen. We are making things happen here as
well so I hope it will continue. We are going to fight the general
election on our own corner. before that, they face council
elections next May. A stiff challenge from the Tories and a
taste of public opinion on the coalition government.
Tomorrow we'll be talking to Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg. If you have
a question you'd like us to ask, please get in touch.
It was a miserable weekend for our Premier League teams, with only one
point from four matches. And if losing wasn't bad enough, they
conceded goals galore in the process. Nick Clitheroe reports.
It was raining goals in the Premier League this weekend but
unfortunately most of them were ending up in the wrong net. Stoke
City were surprisingly on the end of the biggest hammering, going
down 4-0 at Sunderland yesterday, when nothing went right. Many might
have blamed defeat on a midweek trip to Ukraine in the Europa
League, but the manager wasn't having it. When you see what
happened in Wales to the miners this week and the underground
working for what some of my players will earn in a week and they have
lost their lives, to make an excuse about it being troubled... We live
in a bubble of football and I think sometimes we should burst it and
look at the outside world. Swansea City hadn't previously scored in
the Premier League since promotion but they put three past West
Bromwich Albion at the Liberty Stadium. It was a similar story at
Molineux, where Wolves' promising start to the season has been
damaged by back-to-back home defeats now. Even Aston Villa's
draw with Newcastle wasn't much of a high point, as they failed to
hang on to Gabby Agbonlahor's early goal. And life didn't get much
better in the Championship, where Birmingham City got soaked before
kick-off and then were thrashed by leaders Southampton.
And you can see all the Football League highlights involving our
clubs, including Shrewsbury's victory at Port Vale, on the BBC
football website. Warwickshire's Nick Skelton has won
his second medal in Madrid at the show jumping championships. He had
already helped the British team to win bronze medal in the team event
and yesterday he won individual bronze as well.
It's now just 310 days until the Olympics comes to Coventry, with
the city's Ricoh Arena one of the stadiums being used for the
football competition. Today, the man in charge of the games, Lord
Coe, visited Coventry to see how preparations are going, Ian Winter
reports. His feet have hardly touched the
ground since London 20 world got the green light. This afternoon,
Lord Coe arrived plaque -- flanked by a small army of persistents and
P Rs. He talked to the manager about the challenge of staging 12
football games in just eight days. This is a very big opportunity for
a youngsters to see international football, and of fact, if you look
back at the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004, it was in games like that
that players like Lionel Messi came through. But already football
extends way beyond here, even to the capital of Uganda. Many are
still buzzing with excitement from their recent visit to Africa. 10
students and teachers from five schools in Coventry spent time in
Uganda at encouraging youngsters to play sport they have never even
heard of, like tennis, rounders and football, as well as rugby.
Probably the best week of my life. It was an experience I will never
forget. It was topped off with the kids been unhappy. It was quite
emotional when we had to say goodbye. Would you go back again?
really had to go back again. We're going to raise as much money as we
can and hopefully go back so we can help people more. This afternoon,
as Lord Coe praised the links between Coventry and Kampala, they
learned that 20 athletes are hoping to use Uganda as their Olympic
training base. We are not just getting the team to train and
disappear, but it makes sense from a sporting point of view and
community point of view that we can make a lasting relationship beyond
the Games. Next year, the students I been to return with enough funds
to provide clean water and more sports equipment. -- students are
hoping to return. It is a legacy Lord Coe would be proud of.
There's more on the Coventry build- up to the Olympics on the website.
The weather has a number of factors contributing to make it what it is.
We have this low pressure and then a warm front followed by a cold
fund. Temperatures will rise, rain will come through and low pressure
dominates by midweek. After that, the high pressure starts to move up
from the South and that kills off the rain and the wind and it is
calm for a time. We could see more rain heading in for the weekend.
Tonight and this evening, we are in that warm sector now, so
temperatures will not fall very much. The rain gradually moves
southwards out of Staffordshire and there could be heavy bursts,
particularly to the West. But temperatures only dropping to 13 or
13 -- 14 degrees. We will draw in more humid air as well. A warm
start to the day with further outbreaks of rain and that main
band starts to move southwards. Slightly breezier than today as
well. The rain will be easing later on during the day, but the front
peps up and livens in the South, says Southern Counties will seek
heavy outbreaks in the afternoon and it will linger, probably
producing 10 to 50 mm during the day. You can see highs of 20
degrees so what will be slightly warmer. On Wednesday, temperatures
will start to drop once again to 17 degrees. The wind picks up as well
and that low pressure is in command, so we will see gusts of 40 miles an
hour over the peaks averaging at around 70 miles an hour for the
south-west. But it remains dry and sunny. Fairly dry for Thursday.
Brighter spells rather than sunnier ones but temperatures on their way
down. Let's take a look at tonight's main
headlines. The evictions and Dale Farm on hold after the trouble has
won a slight reprieve in court. And Jaguar Land Rover is creating
750 jobs and investing �355 million building a new engine plant in
Wolverhampton. And on that good news note, let's
go back to Nick. Thank you. I have been joined by Professor David
Bailey from the Coventry University Business School. We normally talk
about grim economic news. What about this? It is amazing! I don't
think I have ever spoken to you about he plant closing -- a plant
openings rather than a plant closing. Why has this come about?
Jaguar Land Rover are doing well and they need to expand and build
more engines. Secondly, they need to produce more fuel-efficient
engines and that is what they're doing here. There is a great skills
base in the West Midlands and they will be able to tap into it.
you sure about that? Are we do have a great legacy in engineering, from
the skilled graduates we produce to the apprenticeships. So we have a
great skills base we can tap into. Do you see this as a pointer to a
brighter future in the car industry? Was certainly think it
shows how well Jaguar Land Rover are doing in the region. -- I
certainly think. They are angered here and they will be producing
lots of cars. -- they are anchored. I think it is a great sign for the
future. It is a remarkable turnaround? It is brilliant to see.
We knew this was a great company. The sector went through a downturn
but we knew they could get through it and that they would have a
bright future. They have an excellent product range and some
great designs in the pipeline coming forward. Thank you so much.
That is it from us. It is little more than a field but comeback in a
few years' time and you will see a bustling factory up and running, a
workforce of hundreds, and who knows how many other operations
dragged along behind it in its wake. The site may be the re-emergence of