The latest news, sport and weather for the Midlands.
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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