13/12/2011 Midlands Today


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Welcome To Midlands Today. The headlines: the growing gap between


the cost of living in the Midlands and pay rises. When we asked them


for pay rises, it is the economy, the industry is not good.


�20 million facelift for Birmingham's n I a venue. We get


the cultural and economic benefit. Then the multi-million pounds


football training academy hoping to turn out stars of the future.


And the teenager who had the surprise of her life when a Harry


Potter stuck turned up to meet her Good evening. Has the cost of


living changed life in the Midlands? The consumer price index


figures showed inflation of 4.8 % this month, down slightly from last


month. But in the Midlands, inflation is 10 times the average


salary increase. Annual earnings before tax have increased by 0.4 %


year-on-year. An average full-time salary is now �19,981, what does


that mean for us in the region? Is all this stopping spending ahead of


Christmas? Figures are encouraging, up 10 % the number of shoppers


coming here. A similar picture elsewhere. Crown Gate in Worcester


up 6% and the boring up 5.5 %, this despite the widening gap between


wages and inflation. Inflation rising 10 times faster than wages


and that means some people are struggling.


Even with today's slight fall in the rate of inflation, prices are


still rising and that means continued pressure on family


budgets. We have to figure out which week we can do the Christmas


shopping. Dean and Mandy are feeling the pinch. Petrol, gas,


electricity has gone up and wages have not increased with inflation.


That has meant drastic action including only running one car.


What we save on insurance and tax just with one car and with petrol


just running the one car it is cheaper. They had been forced to


change the way they shop. We now do a big shop once a month whereas we


used to do it once a week. We go to the supermarket and filled the


freezer up with the meat because it is cheaper. This is why they are


doing that. According to figures, pay packets only rose by 0.4 % in


the last financial year, while the consumer price index was up by 4.5


%. But the region's businesses have been hit also. This Foundry is


where Dean works. Here most workers have not had a pay rise in four


years. When we asked them for pay rises, it is the economy, the


industry is not good. Cost of electricity, it still which has


come in. Prices are rising and bosses are facing a massive 32 %


rise in their energy bill. That height in energy prices means the


cost of producing something like this has gone up by 15p and that


might not sound like much but when you consider they produce 3 million


cars like this every year it mounts up. So also does the impact on the


profit margins. It will affect our profit by the end of �330,000.


Which means that sparks could be flying here next year if there is


no money in the pot for a pay rise. It is not just rising prices in the


shops that are worrying. There are increasing levels of fuel poverty.


Per troy is going up, food is going up, everything is going up and the


wages are still the same. You are left with less. I cannot save money.


I am not planning on holidays or anything like that. The price of


petrol is ridiculous. It seems to go up. They say they bring it down


but it does not appear so. We do not have the heating on in our


house in case the bill is sky high. It is hard to live. Perhaps a bit


of a worrying sign, Santa is not very busy here. With me is Michael


from the independent retailers Association. Inflation has gone


down but prices are rising. What effect is that happening? Prices


are rising faster than in comes and that is causing sales to be subdued.


Are you surprised we are seeing rising levels of at fault but


people are not spending much? have been counting the backs of


people coming to the tales, not as much. There are fewer bags on


people's arms here. How will Christmas 2011 be remembered?


will be remembered as a subdued Christmas. Sales are down for


independents. What about 2012, there are concerns about the


economy for them. What a member saying? They have the same worry


that the government does, they need growth but will it arrived? Will we


see more empty shops in 2000 and fog? We may do in the early part of


the year because they are under pressure. Thank you. It is 11 days


to go until Christmas, so plenty of shopping to be had and plenty of


bargains to be had also. We would like to know how this is


affecting you. Have you had to cut back? You can comment on our


Facebook page or e-mail us. We would love to hear your thoughts.


Still to come: we hear from a doctor who says thousands of lives


could be saved if more medics knew how to spot blood poisoning.


New plans for a �20 million facelift at Birmingham's National


Indoor Arena had been unveiled. The NIA celebrates its 20th anniversary


and it has hosted more world championship sports events than any


other arena in Europe. It can hold more than 14,000 people, it has


staged concerts by international superstars.


Col play, Sir Paul McCartney, Eurovision - not forgetting a long


sporting pedigree. 420 years the National Indoor Arena has been


entertaining the public of the West Midlands and beyond. Maybe it is


starting to look tired around the edges. Time then for a �20 million


facelift. Two years of work to create a huge glass frontage making


the most of its canalside location. Now is the time to invest in the


NIA. We are doing this to protect the market share, the number of


great events we attract to the city and through that we get the


cultural and economic benefit. We get the employment benefit as well.


Together with a new library it forms part of the council's Big


City vision for a revamped Central Birmingham and it is the council


that is landing the NIA the Monday -- money. Its leader Mike Whitby


The point is is where the money comes from. With the council


cutting millions in spending, not everyone thinks the loan is wise


off their. This venue brings investment into the venue -- region,


why not invest in it? Their run many thousands of people losing


their jobs, we are talking about the council learning 20 million to


a press these project that could have got the money somewhere else.


The arena is planning to sell its naming rights to pay off the loan.


Building work should start late next year.


I am joined by Emma Gray from Marketing Birmingham. Why do this


at a time when public money is so tight? It is important that


Birmingham remains competitive and with this new plant it will help us


for the future. It is a plan about the future and how we can remain


competitive as a business and leisure location. We have had a


year on year increase on visitor numbers but we need to reinvent


ourselves and create new products that will bring people back and get


our profile high. Will the ordinary people of Birmingham benefit?


benefit is massive. It will provide jobs are but alongside that, when


you have the big sporting events that happen with in this stadium,


you get benefits within the hotel sector, restaurants, it is very


widespread and there is a massive ripple effect. When will all this


dark? It will start at the end of next year and it is a two year


project. We think it will fit in well with the major plans that are


happening within the city in terms of infrastructure. Will there be


any closures to the NIA well this is going on? There will be


information about that throughout the website on the NIA to keep


people up-to-date. It is important that the work happens because it


really does help from an economic perspective and it helps revitalise


the city force DUP meanwhile, there has been a further boost to the NIA


with the news that one of the world's top athletes will be


competing next year. Four Mar 100 metres record holder


Asafa Powell has announced his intention to compete in the Grand


Prix. He will be based in Birmingham with the Jamaican team


in preparation for the London Olympics.


A Birmingham bookseller has been sentenced to three years in jail


after being found guilty of encouraging others to carry out


violent terrorist attacks. Kingston Crown Court was told some of the


material sold by Ahmed Faraz contained instructions on how to


make explosives and kidnap people. The 32-year-old round the Maktabah


bookshop but it has now closed down. Hundreds of patients will have to


wait too long to be admitted to hospital according to the West


Midlands Ambulance Service. Yesterday more than 80 patients had


to wait more than an hour for the handover from ambulance to hospital.


All of England's 11 ambulance services experienced delays in


handing over patience. 10,000 lives could be saved every


year if doctors and nurses recognise the early signs of sepsis


all blood poisoning. One doctor is petitioning the government to do


more. Ron Daniels started his campaign after watching a man died


following a simple operation. At 37, gem Abbott was fit and


healthy but he started to feel ill and his body shut down. His wife


Karen from near Sutton Coldfield is still trying to piece together how


a vasectomy could lead to the death of her husband, leaving her with


two young children. The doctor said, there is nothing we can do for him.


He will lose his hands, arms and legs and he will be her brain


damaged. The choice was not mind to turn the machine off, the hospital


made the choice for me. This intensive care doctor was also


shocked by Jem Abbott's death. By employing specialist staff and


identify infections early, he believes they are saving 80 lives a


year. Sepsis is a complex condition which can present to any health


worker and we need to engage everybody and work with everyone to


ensure we make this difference. Each year across the UK, 37,000


people die of sepsis. Sepsis UK believes 10,000 of those could be


saved and that would save the NHS �170 million in treatment costs.


The good ideas are being rolled out across Solihull and Coventry but


things move slowly be in the NHS and the plan now is to lobby


government. We have an electronic petition. The idea is to engage


ministers, particularly the Secretary of State for Health to


ask them to persuade the Department of Health that sepsis needs to be


taken seriously. All that is in Karon's gift is to try to raise


You're with Midlands Today this chilly Tuesday night. Still ahead:


a magic surprise for one school, as the Harry Potter star Rupert Grint


pays an unannounced visit. And with the first bout of stormy


weather out of the way, it's a question now of how bad it could


get on Thursday night. I'll have an update for you of all the warnings


later. Six Midlands towns and cities are


set to experience local television for the first time under plans


unveiled today by the Government. Birmingham is one of 20 "pioneer


areas" where broadcasting is due to start in 2013. Others are planned


for Stoke-on-Trent, Stratford-upon- Avon, Kidderminster, Malvern and


Hereford. Our Political Editor Patrick Burns is here with us now.


Why are ministers so keen on local TV? They clean kit ties together


the big themes of this government - localism and the Big Society.


Instead of the big guns of the corporate world. So the want to


limit the independent production companies to no more than 25%


ownership of one of these licences. This has been tried before in


Coventry and it flopped. Why do they think it will work this time?


And think those earlier examples were on shoestring budgets. It is


an expensive business. In this case the BBC has agreed to put �25


million to support the start-up costs. So the government hoped


there will be properly resourced and will attract a level of


advertising and sponsorship. What happens next? Ofcom consult over


the award of licences on a competitive tendering system which


should be completed by the summer. After 20 years in a Birmingham tram


depot, a collection of vintage buses and commercial vehicles is on


the move. The Aston Manor Transport Museum is relocating to a former


dustcart production line in Aldridge after the city council


said it could no longer afford to subsidise its rent. Sarah Falkland


reports. The last time this old girl was out


on the open road was 1945. This Morris Dictator is one of several


renovation projects that needed a low loader to take it from its old


home in Aston to a new home in Aldridge. They will look after her.


Where she is going there are people who do lot of preservation work so


they know what to expect. There will be no more bits falling off!


It will have taken six weeks in total to clear the Aston museum of


exhibits. It's the end of an era. I am sad about it but the city


council put us in a position where we had no other option. And this is


where the new museum will be created. A former dust cart


production line in Aldridge soon to grow from a bus refurbishment


business to a bus manufacturing site. The majority of the buses in


the collection have managed to get you to Aldridge under their own


steam. Although a few did have some problems. This 1964 bus broke down


try to get up the hill. The company's given the museum an


initial six months rent free - with the hope of a ten year lease to


follow. The museum will be located in this part of the building and


the other side is where the production line will go in. There


will be viewing areas were you can actually see the production in


process was DUP The vision is that traditional street setting will be


created as a backdrop for these trusty stalwarts of our highways.


It's cost around �100 million. And it's been a political hot potato


for more than 10 years. But now, the National Football Centre in


Staffordshire is almost finished. It's due to open next summer, by


which time England could be the new European Champions. Ian Winter has


been to Burton-on-Trent for a look round.


Wellington boots, hard hats and yellow jackets. We are all dressed


up and champing at the bit for our first glimpse of the most famous


building site in Britain. The new national football centre covers the


site of 330 acres in the National Forest and will be a state of the


art facility. It is the first time anyone has ever built at facility


quite like these with the whole of the eastern wall all reinforced


glass. You will not feel as if you are training in a big shed, you


will feel as if you're somewhere special. David has been the driving


force behind this massive project and today had several important


guests including Paul Foot went from Aston Villa and the England


boss, Fabio Capello. And would that, he was whisked away.


By the time the national football centre opens next summer, it will


be the next England manager who gets all the benefits of burgeon.


This is the elite pitch, identical in every respect to Wembley.


England's senior players will start training here next autumn in


preparation for the World Cup qualifying campaign. What does this


mean for the Midlands? It is great for the region. We will employ 250


local people. It helps put us on the map at the heart of England.


The FA bought this side with �2 million and three years later their


plans were shelved. Four years after that they were resurrected


and now, costing �100 million, the national football centre is almost


complete. So we will watch and wait to see if first-class facilities


produce a first-class team. Thank goodness! We have waited so


long for that. Tonight, Walsall aim to reach the


first round -- the third round of the FA Cup for the first time this


season as they play against Dagenham.


It's not everyday that an international film star pops into


your school, but that's just what happened in Sutton Coldfield today.


Rupert Grint, who plays Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter films, went


along with fellow cast member Oliver Phelps to surprise one lucky


pupil, as Ben Sidwell reports. For pupils at Bishop Walsh Catholic


School in Sutton Coldfield, it seemed like just another day. But


today was different, there was magic in the air.


Earlier this year, 17-year-old Sarah Cotter entered an online


Harry Potter competition. Today, much to the surprise of herself and


nearly everyone at the school, her prize arrived.


Pupils had been told there were it's a special Assembly and the


special guest would be the Archbishop of San Francisco. But


there are about to be in for a big surprise.


This is one of the most surreal days we have ever had. It is quite


overwhelming. It is just a very strange experience. In everyday


life you do not have that, it is quite unique. And how did the girl


that made all this happen feel? my God! I don't even have the words.


Everywhere Rupert and Oliver went today, there were screaming fans,


desperate to capture a momento of the day that two film stars came to


their school. Amazing! We have grown up with them, we're all such


massive fans. What to think of Sarah for entering this


competition? At the everyone will be her best friend! For Oliver


Phelps, who plays George Weasley in the films, it was a chance to


return home. He was born and grew up in Sutton Coldfield. Of all the


places to go in the UK, this is great. I have a horrible members --


memories of doing cross country on the field over there. Pupils from


almost half of the UK's secondary schools entered the competition,


which was run by Sainsbury's. And Sarah's victory was one shared by


the whole school, with every pupil getting a copy of the new Harry


Potter DVD and the school themselves 10,000 vouchers for


activity equipment. I think they were all remembered


this date for the less good acolytes. -- Remembrance Day for


It is just like that when you turn up to work! It must have been so


exciting. Now let's take a look at the


Now let's take a look at the weather forecast.


After the wild conditions last night we're not out of the woods


yet. There are still warnings for stormy conditions on the Thursday


night into the early hours of the mornings. At the moment this area


of low pressure seems to be moving further south, in which case it


will take those stormy conditions with it. For now the problem is


that stream of showers moving into the Bristol Channel. That will


contain hail and thunder. We already had reports of wintery


showers today across many parts. Those will leave behind wet


surfaces and so we're looking at the risk of ice on untreated


services. Then tomorrow we have another feature, this rash of


showers that will turn up wintery on the hilltops. But those will


revert back to rained throughout the day. It is quite a cold day,


but not quite so windy tomorrow. Tomorrow night, the wind dies down


completely. We are looking at some heavy outbreaks of rain. But we are


looking at cloudy conditions. That rain men dies away and on Thursday


it is dried with some sunshine. Perhaps some stormy conditions


during the night. But Friday is looking mainly dry and for Saturday


things start to clear up with some sunshine. But again the potential


for some ice and frost during the night as temperatures plummet again


night as temperatures plummet again to freezing or perhaps just below.


A look at tonight's main headlines: Shoppers have been forced to run


for their lives in Belgium as a lone gunman opened fire, killing


five people and himself. And inflation may be down but the


annual rate is still 10 times higher than the average pay rise in


the Midlands. And to our top story - news that


inflation in the West Midlands is now ten times the average salary


increase. Today we've been asking how it's affecting your life. Julie


Norton says: "I'm trying to get full time work in the Finance


Industry and trying to survive on �65 per week when my gas and


electricity is �30 per week and rising!" She describes her


situation as "dire". And Simon Lewis has been told he will not


have a wage increase for two years. Adele Partridge says: "My husband


and I are both self employed. We no longer have meals out or takeaways.


We don't do any social travelling journeys so that we don't waste


petrol. We are selling both of our cars to get a cheaper one. The


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