09/12/2011 Midlands Today


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Hello, welcome to Midlands Today with Mary Rhodes and Nick Owen. The


headlines tonight: Christmas is cancelled. Hundreds


are left disappointed as their festive parties are called off in a


row over money. It is a shame. I mean, that time of the Year


Christmas, you don't expect people to do stuff like that.


Caught on camera, the carer found guilty of trying to steal from a


severely disabled man. A Michelin-starred chef gives


Birmingham City Council a roasting over the future of the wholesale


market. If the market is closed, it will have a massive impact on the


city but on a smaller businesses in and around the city, more important


leave. And for Wembley read Villa Park,


the ground could host next year's Good evening, welcome to Friday's


Midlands Today from the BBC. Tonight, hundreds of people are


left disappointed and out of pocket after their works Christmas parties


are cancelled in a dispute over money. Around 800 people were due


to attend the festive events at Birmingham's New Bingley Hall


tonight and tomorrow. Dozens of local businesses handed over


thousands of pounds in deposits to the organisers, a Solihull-based


company called Special Events and Parties Ltd. Managers at the New


Bingley Hall say that cheques paid to them from the company have been


cancelled so they've been left with no alternative but to call the


parties off. Bob Hockenhull reports. Workers at this design company at


Digbeth in Birmingham are among hundreds who've had their Christmas


party cancelled. We had guys from Cambridge coming all the way here


and we had heard tells booked, and we went out of our way and bought


expensive outfits. For 40 years hours' notice, this is pretty poor


for an organisation. We have been trying to get hold of them all week.


Nothing. This dental surgery in Erdington paid �650 for 13 staff to


go to the same event at New Bingley Hall. It has put a bit of a back


cloud over the practice because everyone was looking forward to


enjoying ourselves out of the practice for Stock -- out of the


practice. Tonight and tomorrow nights' cancelled celebrations were


organised by Solihull-based Special Events and Parties. They promised a


meal and entertainment including this fun fair at the back of New


Bingley Hall. Managers at the venue say they've been unable to contact


the party organisers and have called in the police. It is a big


thing. I was talking to a client and they are coming from a very bit


-- big company, and they have already bought their outfits. And


they are really upset, and she was in tears. That has upset as. It is


not just party goers that have lost out, New Bingley Hall estimates it


has lost thousands of pounds by not being able to stage the event. And


bar and security staff that have been hired still need to be paid.


The BBC made attempts to contact Special Events and Parties director


Elaine Reeves this afternoon to no avail. In an email to clients, she


apologised but said, "We simply cannot cover the cost of running


these events, we will be issuing refunds to customers who have paid


as soon as possible." Trading Standards officers have also been


trying without success to contact the party organiser and gave this


advice. I think the first thing to do is to put the complaint in


writing via e-mail or letter. State what the problem is, how much you


paid for the ticket and when the meal was due to go on. If you don't


get any joy, if you are in Birmingham, come to us, or your


local Trading Standards department. New Bingley Hall did manage to


stage one party organised by the same company last weekend. But it


looks like the events have come to a premature end, disappointing


hundreds of would-be Christmas revellers.


And Bob Hockenhull joins us from outside the New Bingley Hall in


Birmingham now. What are the chances of people getting their


money back? Well, the company itself is


promising refunds in the new year. Trading Standards have given advice


and they say that people have got a good case if they want to take


action, not just to get money back, but also for the inconvenience, and


the police are investigating, so this could become a criminal


inquiry. This company, Special Events and


Parties Ltd, it is still taking bookings for Christmas party events


on its website, not just these ones at New Bingley Hall. What should


people do if they are worried? I think the best advice is to ring


the venue where the party is due to take place to see what they have


got to say and whether they believe the party is going to go ahead. We


know that Solihull rugby club... Sorry, Solihull Land Rover club is


due to hold an event in a week, and the ICC are also expected to stage


an event, so the best thing is for people to ring up and the managers


here have been on hand in case any partygoers turn up. They haven't


done so far, but the band did, and they have been turned away and they


are on their way back to Shropshire. A care worker has been found guilty


of trying to steal from a severely disabled man she was supposed to be


looking after. Trevor Thomas from Birmingham relied on 36-year-old


Michelle Warburton. That was until she was caught on CCTV cameras


repeatedly trying to crack the code to his safe where he kept his


benefit money. Ben Godfrey reports. This is care worker Michelle


Warburton. This footage shows her trying to steal from the disabled


man who thought he could trust her. Inside this wardrobe is his safe.


Trevor Thomas is 44 and has dystonia, a neurological disorder


which means he's confined to a wheelchair. Warburton, from Druids


Heath, was one of four carers employed privately by his mother


Pat to provide support at his adapted home. But they suspected


she was taking money. We have invited her in to Trevor's home,


and if they person cannot be safe in their home, they cannot be saved


anyway of. When the family became suspicious, they fitted CCTV


cameras and it was this technology that exposed Michelle Warburton as


the carer who did not care. In March, the single mother of two is


seen entering Trevor's spare bedroom, often closing the door,


and reaching for his safe containing hundreds of pounds.


pretended to be vacuuming, trying to get into the safe. She is


crawling on the floor, looking at my son, to see where he is, before


she tries that again. I mean, it is so undignified for somebody to do


that to them. Warburton claimed she was just trying to find a phone


number. The jury didn't believe her. It has been hard work. And a lot of


strain on the whole family. It is wicked, really. Trevor says she is


evil. Because she has manipulated us all. Trevor Thomas has been in


his own film. Trevor sat through the trial, eager to see the woman


he once trusted face justice. She'll be sentenced next month.


Members of Birmingham's Congolese community have been protesting over


delays in announcing general election results in their homeland.


Around 100 demonstrators marched through the city to the Mailbox


complex. It follows clashes in the Democratic Republic of Congo


between police and opposition supporters, who claim the recent


election has been marred by fraud. They also accused the BBC of not


giving enough coverage to events there. We are standing here,


protesting against things that are happening, the rapes, the killing,


every single unfairness, and we need our message to come across and


we have been watching the BBC, and nobody is talking about the Congo.


Everybody is talking about Russia, Libya, Tunisia, but Congo is not


mention. Where is the most dangerous place to be right now?


a statement today, the BBC said BBC News has reported on the elections,


including pre-election and polling day coverage on radio online and


correspondents have been sent to cover the story.


Police in Coventry have launched a murder enquiry after the discovery


of the body of a woman. Two men, aged 50 and 54, were arrested at


the scene in Trentham Road in the city. Both remain in police custody.


A post mortem will be carried out tomorrow. Workers at the Marmite


factory have been on strike today. It's part of a national day of


action by staff over changes to the company's final salary pension


scheme due to be introduced next summer. The company says the


changes are necessary for the scheme to remain sustainable in the


future. A Michelin-starred chef says


Birmingham's flourishing reputation for fine food could be destroyed


over uncertainty for the future of the city's Wholesale Market. Glynn


Purnell hit out after a report suggested the market also supports


thousands of jobs in related industries. Birmingham City Council


says a consultation over the future of the market is underway, but


stresses there are no plans to close it. Joanne Writtle reports.


A regular produce delivery from Birmingham Wholesale Market to


Purnell's restaurant in the city centre. But the Michelin-starred


chef, nicknamed the Yummy Brummie, says uncertainty hanging over the


market could have a dramatic effect on the city's growing gourmet


reputation and thwart small businesses who depend upon it for


supplies. For me, it is going to be a massive threat on ruining our


reputation. It has taken us years to get the standard. Birmingham has


been mocked for being the culinary desert and everybody used to drive


through Birmingham. But now customers, we are a national


destinations. This is the biggest integrated wholesale market in


Europe. 1,100 people work here but a study suggests it supports 15,000


jobs in the wider economy. The study was for the Birmingham


Wholesale Fresh Produce Association as it fights for its future. The


author says the 70 businesses here have a global reputation, as well


as turning over �275 million a year.? The business operation is


the leading one in the world. When we went to a conference in China,


we expected to be treated as a poor relation, when in actual fact it's


markets in Sydney, Helsinki and in China have adopted the Birmingham


City model as a way of integrated wholesale market into the urban


environment. Birmingham City Council said there are no plans to


We want to meet with them, get around the table and sort something


out. We want to be here for the next 150 years. The study claims


uncertainty has caused occupancy to fall by a quarter. So have plans


for expanding rural broadband in Herefordshire stalled? That's what


one organisation is claiming tonight. The Countryside Alliance


says a year after the announcement of plans, there's still no cash


from the Government. So far, Herefordshire Council has spent


�50,000 on a tendering process looking for someone to run the


scheme. Our Science Correspondent David Gregory is here. David,


remind us what the Government announced about this.


OK, so 12 months ago, the Government said there were going to


be four areas in the UK to be invested in rural broadband, to


bring up speeds and access. The money is coming out of the licence


fee. If you cannot remember, here is the answer and. Pilots will go


ahead in Cumbria and Herefordshire, in the Highlands, and all of this


will encourage the growth of industries as a key part of the new


economy we are seeking to build. But that was 12 months ago and


since then nothing has happened, especially in Herefordshire.


what is the problem? We wanted to find that out, so they work -- so


as far as the Countryside Alliance say, things have stalled. The whole


system is stalling and that we need to look at it again urgently,


because the need for super-fast broadband is not going to go away


but it is going to become more urgent. We need to kick-start this


thing. They have found that the tendering process has cost �15,000


-- �50,000, but there is no cash coming from the Government to do


anything. What is the response from the council? Basically, they say


that nothing has happened yet but by late spring next year, they


hoped to have something in night in the tender process. Of is the,


there is huge demand for this. Thanks, David. -- obviously there's


a huge demand for this. The man who brokered the deal which


took Jaguar Land Rover into the ownership of the Indian giant Tata


says the company's at the start of a great revival. JLR went from


being on the verge of needing a Government bail out, to making


billions of pounds in profit in just two years. Lord Bhattacharyya,


who founded the Warwick Manufacturing Group, says he's


confident other Midlands firms can be equally successful. Cath Mackie


reports. From bust to boom. Jaguar Land


Rover is arguably the manufacturing success story of the past five


years. And the man who helped make it happen is confident the best is


yet to come. I think we are at the start of a great revival. Three


years ago, Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya, an engineer by trade who founded


the Warwick Manufacturing Group, was key to the transfer of JLR from


Ford ownership to Rattan Tata of India. When I speak to Tata, they


always say this is a Midlands icon, and we need to preserve it. He's


right to be optimistic. In 2008, JLR was on the brink. Now 1,000 new


jobs have just been announced and a new �335 million pound engine plant.


That factory on the i54 site near Wolverhampton will create a further


2,000 jobs. Lord Bhattacharyya says other Midlands firms can be as


successful as JLR. What's needed now is more leadership and courage


and there are calls too for a rebalancing of the economy. We need


to rebalance the economy because manufacturing needs to be a bigger


part of that. We hoped that Government would help export our


way out of recession. It has come grinding to a halt. MP Geoffrey


Robinson was chief executive of Jaguar Cars in the 70s. If you want


to get a general improvement in manufacturing, and in the economy,


you have got to get away from the cuts, from the deflation and


recession. This government isn't turning its back on manufacturing


but in order to rebalance the economy, you need to recognise


first of all the Government itself cannot do this, they can only


create the environment. In which these companies can do well. Just


today, the car component firm Metafin Group Holdings in Walsall


announced an extra 50 jobs. But 220 jobs are under threat at Tucker


Fastners in Birmingham. Manufacturing hope for 2012 will be


a delicate balancing act. And there'll be more from that


interview with Lord Battacharryya plus a look at the economic outlook


for the region in Sunday's Politics Show which starts at midday on BBC


One. Still to come in tonight's


programme: He may be a pop star but he's also


an artist. In fact, if it hadn't been for art, we might never have


heard of the Specials. And we've had a bit of everything


from the weather this week. Rain, gales, sunshine and even some snow


in the Staffordshire moorlands. And next on the menu is the coldest


night of the season so far. Join me On to sport now and Ian Winter is


here with news that a football showpiece event could be on its way


to Birmingham. Yes, Villa Park looks set to host


to next season's FA Community Shield. The game's normally played


at Wembley Stadium but next year the date clashes with the final of


the Olympic football tournament. Nick Clitheroe's at Villa Park now.


This would be quite a feather in Villa's cap, if it comes off.


Absolutely. This was the story that came out today that VeloPark was


set to host the FA community Shield August well for next year. That


date is important because the final of the Olympic football is at


Wembley August 11th, so they couldn't use Wembley for it. Aston


Villa have had no comment on this to date. I spoke to the Football


Association and they said they didn't want to talk about the


process, except to say they were not looking at any cities which


were already hosting Olympic football. That rules out Cardiff's


Millennium Stadium,, it rolls up Manchester and Newcastle, so


realistically that leaves you with the Villa Park at or Anfield in


Liverpool. It seems like this is the front-runner in this. Is it too


early to say? Let's put it this way. Nobody has laughed at me today.


There is a firm no comment all round, but it is not laughed out of


court. So I think it is going to happen, but a matter of when. It is


a 43,000 seating capacity stadium, it is used to hosting major events


from euro 96 to the last cup final, and if you get a London team


playing a Manchester team, it is in the middle, the perfect place for


the host stadium for that match at the beginning of next season, and


if they get that, unlikely as it may seem, there will be no problem


with them playing in the Community Shield by the. -- either.


If you're amongst the 1,400 Wolves fans heading north to Manchester


tomorrow, here's a question for you. What's the biggest crowd that Old


Trafford has ever seen? Today, I met a man who gave me a most


unexpected answer. Hidden away, deep inside the


Wolverhampton branch of Santa's grotto, you'll find a man who's


written many weird and wonderful things about his favourite club.


Jim Heath is a lifelong fan who's got 20-20 vision about everything


and everybody connected with Wolves. We hold the record attendance at


Old Trafford, 76,000. That was in 1939, beating Grimsby five-Zil --


5-0. In an FA Cup final. there's no way that record will get


beaten tomorrow. 13 months ago, Wolves came so close to earning a


point at Old Trafford, only for United to score the winner in


stoppage time. Huge frustration for Mick McCarthy which was transformed


into big satisfaction three months later, when Wolves got sweet


revenge with a 2-1 victory at Molineux. How much do you enjoy the


challenge of pitting your wits against Sir Alex Ferguson? Always.


It is not a tactical battle between me and him. I think the battle is


out on the pitch. I enjoy watching my team are pitting their wits


against those players because there are some wonderful players. And


last year was a wonderful year. It was a fantastic result. I used to


watch Man United with my kids and my family and friends, and I have


been a fan, so to play them was unbelievable and hopefully tomorrow


we can get a good result. It would make my year if we can pull it off.


12 months ago they won at Liverpool, now they hope to complete the hat-


trick against Manchester United. And if they were to pull it off,


the festive season is sure to start with a bang in Wolverhampton. Let's


hope so. Is it 31 years since wolves won at Old Trafford? What


are the chances? There is no good time to play


Manchester United. Mick McCarthy smiled and shook his head, he knows


United are always dangers, because of the fact they have been knocked


out of the Champions League, they don't have Nemanja Vidic, but they


have threat up front, and he has scored many many goals. There is


never such a thing as a lost cause with Mick McCarthy. Never a dull


moment, either. Port Vale say they're taking legal


advice over the collapse of a deal with an American company to invest


�8 million in the club. Vale announced in September they were


planning to use the money from Blue Sky International for ground


improvements and other projects. But the Americans claim they only


offered half a million and the deal is now dead.


And to keep up to date with how your club gets on over the weekend,


including the build-up, full match commentary and reaction, tune in to


your BBC local radio station. Finally, the Warwickshire batsmen


Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott are both in the England Squad to play


three tests against Pakistan in the New Year.


Good for them. Nice to think about cricket and


sunshine. Horace Panter is best known as the


bass player with The Specials, but in his spare time he's also an


accomplished artist. In fact, without his love of art, the band


would never have existed. He met Jerry Dammers when they were both


art students in Coventry and together they formed the band.


Tomorrow, Horace's first art exhibition will open in Leamington


Horace Panter has two passions, art and music. When he's not touring


with the Specials, the chances are you'll find him painting at his


home in Coventry. There is a yin and Yang. The


Specials is frantic and physical activity, whereas I come back here


and I can just relax. After leaving the Specials, Horace became an art


teacher, a job he remained in for 10 years until the band reformed in


2008. But why has it taken so long for him to show his work? I did a


couple of paintings, then a few more. And then the attics started


to get filled up with bits of board and stuff so there was a question


of you have done this, you might as well show it to people. That is


what you do with music, isn't it? Tomorrow, Horace's first exhibition


opens at the White Room Gallery in We had the opportunity to visit


Beijing earlier in the year. And I asked her if I could take a photo,


and she was thrilled. So I took her photo and then painted her.


Sometimes the paintings work and sometimes they don't. But I think I


got the essence of this lovely lady. One day, I want to get a print of


that and find her, and say, thank you very much. Who do you think


will come to see this exhibition? Regular folks. I do not like art


being an elitist thing. People are loath to go to galleries, but I


want people to go, that is nice, I would like one of those. Horace's


exhibition is on until the 24th January.


Why are some people so talented? You would have thought that would


have been in black-and-white... I will explain later.


Now, the weather. We hear of It will be an icy night, and a


chilly night. The chilliest night of the season coming after what has


been a topsy-turvy week. Tonight, it is cold, very cold, and frosty


for all of us. There have been some showers around. They have been


driven in on a north-westerly breeze. Some of the showers fell as


snow. After that, with temperatures plunging away, there is a real risk


of ice on pavement so take care. After further South, where we have


seen the cloud and clear skies, we will see some haze of blue


spreading right across the map, a harsh frost with temperatures


around minus three. Out in the countryside, even colder, so a


chilly start, cold and frosty but bright and sunny. We will see a lot


of sun. After such a cold start, temperatures struggled to recover,


so no better than 5 or 6. The next change comes through tomorrow


afternoon and tomorrow evening with the cloud thickening, the breeze


strengthening. That rain is associated with some weather France,


muttering their way in through Saturday into Sunday. -- some


weather fronts. That rain clears the way to the South, leaving


brighter skies and milder. Next week, another change. A yellow


warning for wind, the potential for some gale-force wind late on Monday


into Tuesday and some wet weather as well. We have some bright


weather, some windy weather, a bit of everything. A topsy-turvy week


continues. A look at tonight's main headlines:


Standing alone, Britain vetoes a new EU treaty though all of the


other 26 countries sign up. And Christmas is cancelled.


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