14/12/2011 Midlands Today


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Good evening. Welcome to Wednesday's Midlands Today from the


BBC. Tonight: unemployment rises again in the region - there are now


almost a quarter of a million people looking for work here.


of companies say that I don't have enough experience. That is the


greatest problem I find right now. He went on Facebook and called for


a riot - now he is starting a jail sentence. Sudden bad weather is


blamed for a motorway crash. It was described by those at the scene has


almost like an ice rink. Who and winter is on the way with heavy


snowfall for Friday, as much as 10 Good evening. Welcome to


Wednesday's Midlands Today. Unemployment rises again in the


region, there are now almost a quarter of a million people looking


for work here. New figures released today show that there are now a


total of 243,000 out of work in this region - up by four thousand


on last month's total. There's also been a big increase in youth


unemployment in the last 12 months. Close to 52,000 18 to 24-year-olds


are now claiming Jobseekers Allowance, slightly down on last


month but a rise of 14.6% on this time last year. Our special


correspondent Peter Wilson reports now on the struggle for young


people in today's difficult job market.


Getting ready for work. The uniform is unusual. These three are Santa's


helpers at the West Midlands Safari Park. The jobs are temporary. The


zoo in Worcestershire takes on 90 I do want a full-time job, but


there are that many people unemployed or getting made


redundant, but fair every job that is permanent, about a hundred other


Bebo have applied. Laura is a qualified teacher waiting to get


her first job. Anything between 80 and 280 people apply for one


teaching position, so even to get to the interview stage, I am doing


well. What about those without jobs? This workshop in Handsworth


was set up to provide advice. One in four young people are out of


work in Birmingham. Esther wants to be a lawyer and has even been


looking for work in America. graduated last year in law, under


have recently come back from America. I took a New York bar exam


over there, because I have had to venture out. I'm finding it


difficult to get a job in the UK. Royal Mail have always been a big


employer. Once they'd take on a thousand staff a year in the


Midlands. Now there's a recruitment freeze. But this empty warehouse in


Nuneaton has been converted for the Christmas rush, and all these staff


have been taken on, too. The job market is difficult for young


people, but Royal Mail is committed to bringing in talent. We start our


graduate scheme in January, and we are looking to take content of


graduates. Last month Jaguar Land Rover announced they are creating a


thousand new jobs, while Staffordshire-based JCB are looking


for 350 new workers. Meanwhile this Gloucestershire publishing company


say they can't fill their vacancies. We have tried all the newspapers,


agencies, our own magazine. Our magazine goes out to 25,000 people


in Ross on Wye at Hereford, and that hasn't brought anybody in.


Back at the safari park, the very young are full of hope for what


Santa might bring. And a ray of light for Laura - she's finally got


a job as a teacher, starting in the new year. Peter Wilson, BBC


Midlands Today at West Midlands Safari Park.


Joining us now is the Conservative MP for Wyre Forest, Mark Garnier.


Good evening. Thanks for joining us. We heard from some of your young


constituents there. They are finding it hard to find work, in


some cases hundreds of them chasing each vacancy. There is no doubt it


is difficult to find jobs, and whilst it is always welcome that


organisations like the West Midlands Safari Park provide


temporary Christmas jobs, they are of course only temporary. We have


to address the problem of youth unemployment which across the


country is just over 1 million individuals. The Government is


coming in with the youth programme, which is investing a billion pounds


in ideas to try to get work experience, more apprenticeships.


How soon will this take effect? has already started. If you look at


apprenticeships across the West Midlands, there are up 65%, and in


my constituency, 109%. So they are coming through, but it takes time


for these things to bed down. government is predicting that the


figure will go up, so you must be concern about a lost generation he


will forever struggle to find work, it seems. We need to help that lost


generation not become completely lost. The idea behind the youth


programme has to make sure that they have the opportunity to have


experience, so that there are opportunities were there can go and


get work experience. If they have been unemployed for more than nine


months, there will be more support for them. The important point is to


make sure that they did lose those skills that they need to develop


early on in their career. private sector just isn't creating


the jobs to the public sector is losing. Do think it is fair to say


the Government's plan isn't working? In terms of total numbers


of people employed, that is up. But you are right, we are seeing a


gentle increase in the unemployment figures. But it seems to be


steadying off. Clearly we have colossal head wind coming at us


from Europe, which is making life very difficult, and certainly


businesses are nervous to invest in the future until they see what


comes out of the euro crisis and what happens with the banks. Mark


A The unemployment figures weren't the only economic data about the


region released today. Statistics showing how much the region is


worth to the UK's economy have also been published. The Gross Value


Added figure, as it's know, shows how much the West Midlands is worth


to UK plc. What they show is that the West Midlands share of the


total economy amounts to 7.3%. That compares to the 21.5% share for


London, which is the highest, and the 3.2% in the North East, which


is the lowest. The West Midlands is ranked 6th out of the nine regions


of England in terms of economic output. Joining us now to help make


sense of all this is our political editor Patrick Burns. What do these


figures mean for us in our region? There are a real comedown. When you


bear in mind that as little as 20 years ago, are part of the country


was accounting for almost a quarter of all UK manufactured exports,


what a change. And it is also, in a way, a bit of a reality check for


those ministers who think that West Midlands manufacturing can almost


as an assumption be one of the escape routes for our economic woes.


What does it say about the economy here? How can this worrying trend


be reversed? I was at a meeting of senior business leaders earlier


today, and why on after another, they said there were no quick fixes.


It would take years, it is about stepping outside the comfort zone


and developing new export markets in the developing Far flung


economies. The chilling statistic from a senior Palmer in an


accountancy firm who said that our biggest export earner to China at


the moment, not Jaguar or Land Rovers, but scrap metal. What does


that say about the challenges that lie ahead? There is limited growth


in the UK, not much growth in the eurozone. So we are looking at


markets like Brazil, Russia, China, parts of the Middle East and Africa,


where there is growing demand for the product. What does this mean in


terms of jobs and unemployment? Also in the unemployment figures


today, creditably, the private sector has actually created 26,000


jobs over the year to September, but worryingly, more than 37,000


public sector jobs were lost. The challenge for the Government is to


rebalance that equation, or they will be vulnerable to the chart


Nicol was putting to Mark Garnier, that it simply isn't working.


Thank you very much. And we'll have more on the region's economy in


tomorrow's programme, when we'll be looking at the state of the High


Street. There'll also be more on that throughout the day on your BBC


local radio station. Good to have you with us this


evening. Later, the walking tours around Shrewsbury, once transformed


Dickensian-style to film A A 22-year-old man who set up a


website called Letz Start A Riot during the summer riots is


beginning a jail term tonight. Danny Cook said he did it as a joke,


but the judge said it was a very serious offence and he would be


failing in his duty if he did not impose a substantial sentence. Andy


Newman reports. Jailed over a website for would-be


rioters. During the height of this summer's disturbances, 22-year-old


Danny Cook set up a Facebook page called Letz Start A Riot. Comments


he added included "loads to be smashed" And "I want in". In the


event, the troubles which sprewd across Birmingham and the Black


Country did not reach his home town of Kidderminster, but today he paid


The defendant even posted a poem on his website: There's a riot going


on from Brum to London, tell you what, I don't want to sit back


because I want to join them. He later told police he set up the


website as a joke, and created the page out of boredom. He closed it


down within an hour. The court regarded it as a serious offence,


as reflected in the sentence. Inciting others is a serious


offence and his own right. 16-year- old Johhny Melfah from Droitwich,


here dodging the cameras at a previous hearing, was one of 44


people who joined the Facebook group. Sentencing him back in


September, magistrates lifted that anonymity that would normally be


given to a teenager to name and shame him. So, did these internet


offenders think they could get away with it? It could be any of us, at


home, maybe had a bit too much to drink and think it is funny, or


maybe bravado in front of friends. Any one of us could do it.


Justice Butterfield sentenced Cook to two-and-a-half years, half of


that to be served in custody and the other half on licence. He said


it was a very serious offence, committed in the context of writing


across the country, and he would be failing in his public duty if he


did not impose a substantial custodial sentence.


In other news: A man's appeared in court charged with murdering a


security guard who vanished seven years ago. Martin Stafford, of no


fixed address, is accused of killing 38-year-old Michelle


Gunshon. She was staying at the Dubliner pub in Digbeth in


Birmingham while working at the NEC, but hasn't been seen since December


2004. Mr Stafford, who's been extradited from the Republic of


Ireland, was remanded in custody by Birmingham magistrates.


UK Coal has been ordered to pay �1.2 million after four miners died


following safety breaches at two of its collieries. Anthony Garrigan,


Paul Hunt and Trevor Steeples died in accidents at the Daw Mill


colliery near Coventry in 2006 and 2007. Paul Milner died after an


accident at the now-closed Welbeck Colliery in Nottinghamshire in 2007.


The firm admitted offences under health and safety laws during an


earlier hearing at Sheffield Crown Court.


The body of a teenage woman has been discovered at a flat in Stoke-


on-Trent. Police are describing the death as unexplained while they


await the results of a post mortem examination. Our Staffordshire


reporter Liz Copper joins us now. Liz, what more do we know about


this? Well, although this young woman is yet to be formally


identified, this evening the police said the understand she is Victoria


Heiton, 18. Her body was discovered by a visitor to her flat he came


here around 5 o'clock yesterday afternoon and then alerted the


emergency services. A post-mortem examination is being conducted,


although the results were not expected to be made public until at


least tomorrow morning. Police have been here all day, and earlier this


evening, I spoke to inspector Chris Hines. We have stepped up police


patrols in the area handing out leaflets to locals to tell people


what is happening in terms of the investigation. We will continue


that affright the week to reassure local communities, and if anyone


has any information or concerns, they should contact their local


police station. What's been the reaction in the local area?


A great deal of shock. A while ago, friends arrived at a lay tributes.


They all said that they hoped that people would not jump to


conclusions about exactly what had happened here, but would wait for


the outcome and the details of that One person has died after a fire at


a flat in Worcester. West Mercia Police are treating it as arson.


The victim, who has not been identified, was found in a first-


floor flat in Chedworth Close on the Warndon estate in the early


hours of this morning. The fire was so severe, forensic teams couldn't


get into the flat until late this afternoon.


Two people have been charged with the murder of a two-year-old boy


from Birmingham. Keanu Williams died in January this year at a


house in Ward End. A post-mortem examination found he had died of


''non-accidental'' injuries. A 23- year-old woman and a 30-year-old


man will appear before Birmingham Magistrates tomorrow charged with


causing or allowing the death of a child and child cruelty.


Police in Gloucestershire say they believe extreme weather conditions


were a major factor in a crash on the M5 last night in which a driver


died. Three lorries and two cars were involved in a collision just


north of Cheltenham. Tonight more bad weather is expected and the


Highways Agency are warning drivers to take extra care.


Conditions last night were difficult, to say the least.


Because of the weather, police had warned drivers to be careful. There


was a sudden flash down part higher at 9:30pm. Drivers said it froze


instantly and they could not see lane markings. A car stuck to help


another driver and was hit. The driver of his lorry was killed.


There will be a lengthy investigation but police say a


major role in the crash was plays by the weather conditions.


The witnesses and offices at the scene describes the road as an ice


rink. We believe it was a major factor with regard to the


commission itself. They must passing the crash last


night said the driving conditions were among the worst they had


experienced. We hit rain, hail and it was clear


there was a bad smash up. The lorry was and 90 degrees to the motorway


hands of a lot of firemen were working on it. You felt like


someone had stab you in the heart because it was clear it was a very


bad incident. The M5 northbound was closed for


several hours. Police have been busy this week due to the weather


on the roads. They are warning drivers to be more cautious than


normal. Hale and bad weather can come on


very quickly. Double the two-second rule in that bad weather. With


worse weather forecast for later in the week, the gritting teams are


starting their annual battle against the ice and snow.


Stockpiles and Rhodes sold at their highest level for two years.


Let us speak to Steve now. Do we have more details about the man who


died? No, he was a 55-year-old man. He


died so last night. The police are not prepared to say anything


officially until they have more details from the investigating team.


I can see all the grit has lined up behind you and more bad weather is


predicted. What plans are in place to prevent another tragedy like


this? The grazing dreams will be out


tonight. The north Cotswolds will be sorted out in the next half-an-


hour also. -- the gritting seems. There has been some unexpected snow


earlier this evening. It is unpredictable and that does creates


at ice and snow problems for drivers. To be careful hands the


gritting teams are doing their best in difficult conditions.


The weather has been pretty grim in the last 24 hours and it doesn't


look as if it is going to get any better, Shefali? No, it doesn't. We


may have escaped the threat of a storm but the prospects are grim.


This is what you could be getting in its place - up to 10cm of snow


and treacherous conditions. Join me Not looking good at all. Really


grim. A dad whose ten-year-old son nearly


died after being knocked off his bike says he is concerned a period


of specialist therapy he is undergoing could end earlier than


first recommended. Josh Dudley was in a coma for more


than two months after the accident near his home in Willenhall near


Wolverhampton. Kevin Reide reports. Josh Dudley was just nine years old


when he lost control of his bike and went into the path of a car.


His dad was confronted with every parent's worst nightmare.


I ran up to the scene. I thought he was dead on the road. I had to


revive him, bring him back ground. At the time, auto pilot kicks in


and you do what you have to do. It was not until after he had been


taken to hospital but it dawns on me what had gone on. I was so lucky


to have him still there. After two months in a coma, Josh


came around but was unable to walk or talk and so was transferred to


this specialist Children's Centre at Tadworth in Surrey where he has


made remarkable progress. One of the main forms of treatment


carried out here is hydrotherapy. In this pool, he can learn to use


his limbs again without the pain of weight-bearing.


When Josh first came here we had seek change in in the changing


rooms because he could not sit up unaided. He has progressed to a


chair and is now he is walking in and out of the water. It is


phenomenal progress. What was the best bit about that,


Josh? Jumping in and getting dad where it.


-- getting dad whacked. Is this going to be on CV?


It might be. The Children's Centre has


recommended Josh completes six months of treatment, meaning he


would come home mid-February but Walsall have only committed funding


until mid-January. In the meantime, Josh's parents have embarked on


their own fundraising as they want to ensure their son stays where


they believe he is getting the best possible treatment.


And tonight Walsall Primary Care Trust told us they are in talks


with the Children's Centre and are aiming for Josh to come home


towards the end of January, on condition that all the necessary


supports for him here will be in place.


Onto football and Stoke City are playing their final group match in


the Europa League against Besiktas in Turkey right now. They have


already qualified for the knock-out stages but need a point to top the


group. It is going well so far. They lead 1-0 at half-time. The


scorers bravery nearly got them a second so it is all going well so


far. And you can hear second-half


commentary on that match on BBC Radio Stoke from 7 o'clock.


In cricket, the England batsman Jonathan Trott has signed a three-


year contract extension with Warwickshire. Trott was voted the


ICC's cricketer of the year for 2011 after his performances for


England. His new contract will keep him at Edgbaston until the end of


the 2015 season. Let us go back in time a bit now.


Charles Dicken's novel A Christmas Carol has long been a festive


favourite when it comes to film adaptations but did you know that


Shrewsbury was picked as a filming location for the version starring


Academy Award winner George C Scott? It was made in 1984 when the


town was taken over for six weeks. This weekend, tours are being


offered for those who want a trip down memory lane. We sent our arts


reporter Satnam Rana to discover some of the people and sites


involved. Marley was as dead as a doornail.


The opening scene for A Christmas Carol. Look closer and you can see


this is Shrewsbury's Market Square, all transformed into Victorian


London, but why did the film crew pick Shrewsbury back in 1984?


It was quite an accident, really. They decided to film on location


and went around the country. The echoes of Christmas past linger


through many buildings. Tanners Wine Merchants is one of them. 27


years ago it became Mr Fezzywigs' drapers.


The customers loved it. They loved the thought of next door they are


filming A Christmas Carol and they were told to keep still and they


froze, you know. And then there were the extras.


Jenny Ward, seen here in the grey dress, was one of them.


We came in here and looked at the scene and it was so different and


then we were told what we had to do and where to stand, so it was very


exciting. Choristers were drafted in from


across the town. Just a street, any street. This


house! Every Christmas it comes out. It's


a ritual in Shrewsbury that those who took part take out the DVD and


watch it all over again. 18 locations we used in the city


with 500 local people used as extras. It was filmed in spring and


60 tons of snow was shipped nth. But it wasn't all glitzy and


glamorous, as town crier Martin Wood recalls. He was Edward


Woodward's stand-in. It was Martin's finger that did all the


pointing. It was 2 o'clock in the morning


when we filmed the scene. Freezing cold, completely covered in snow


from ice machines and snow machines. There was a spotlight there was a


poster be the Moon to give the airy atmosphere.


It's an atmosphere that can be rekindled by so many in Shrewsbury.


And for those who want to be bah humbug, think twice. Scrooge's


gravestone still remains. Martin is very tall indeed!


Some treacherous weather on the way soon. Since yesterday we've


switched our emphasis from storms to snow which is probably going to


be of greater concern seeing as there could be a fair bit of it.


The centre of this low pressure is now heading further south and east,


taking its stormy weather with it but on its northern flank we see


this rather prominent area of white smothering the Midlands which is


snow and for which the Met Office have issued a yellow warning for


Thursday night and more particularly into the early hours


of Friday morning. There is quite a wide Roche over our region. So


we'll come to that in a moment but tonight our main problem will be


ice after the rain, some of which could turn to wet snow. It's in the


next couple of hours that temperatures are falling away to


freezing and during this period we've got an area of low pressure


crossing us and that's going to draw this raft of showers in from


off the Bristol Channel that could appear as longer and heavier spells


of rain and it's very likely that some that could turn wintry and not


just be confined to the west but also elsewhere. So wintriness,


iciness the main things to be aware of tonight and even tomorrow


morning. Even tomorrow it doesn't stop there with the next batch of


showers starting to roll in from the west, although they will begin


to show signs of easing through the afternoon. Some sunshine to end the


day. Temperatures around seven Celsius. And so we come to the part


of this week that's going to pose the greatest problem by the looks


of things. Heavy rain arrives in the west by tomorrow evening,


spreading eastwards as that comes into contact with the cold


northwesterly winds gusting to 50mph in places. It will turn to


snow and that then spreads south through the early hours of Friday


morning. So in terms of quantities, up to 10cm, so treacherous


conditions and this snow continuing on and off through much of Friday,


only beginning to ease through the evening.


A look at tonight's main headlines: Unemployment rises to its highest


level for 17 years. Nationally, 2.6 million people are now without a


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