19/09/2011 Midlands Today


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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


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