15/12/2011 Midlands Today


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Hello and welcome to the programme. The headlines: More jobs and a 5%


pay rise for thousands of JCB workers.


We the pay rises, it is going to be ongoing, and it is with your


overtime adding to the money you are picking up.


Store wars report sales down as shoppers seek out bargains. You get


two for one offers and save money anyway you can.


The Prime Minister calls for an army of troubleshooters to work


with a problem families, but who will pay? For these families are


costing Birmingham and other West Midlands authorities a fortune.


At snow Falls for some already with more on the way. Find out where and


Good evening and welcome to the programme this Thursday. Good and


bad news on the economy, with an industry leader powering ahead but


more jobs at risk. The engineering company Norgren said today it is


restructuring at its Litchfield base and 180 jobs could be lost.


But a few miles away, the firm that makes the big yellow diggers is


surging ahead. JCB is back to pre- recession employment levels, thanks


to big rises in exports. 20% up to Russia, for example. Thousands of


workers found out today they will get a 5.2% pay rise on top of a


Christmas bonus of �500. That is in contrast to the average pay rise in


this region of around 0.4%. Christmas cheer pull these JCB


workers with their �500 bonus and inflation-linked pay rise. Some of


these employees were laid off when recession struck but have been


rehired. It has been tough for the company for the past couple of


years and tough for me, as well. I got laid off in 2009 and struggled


to find work. Eventually I managed to get on here through the agency.


It has been just over 12 months working for the agency and I just


got set on again. To have a bonus and a pay rise is great. The All


prices are going up and the cost of living is going up and it is nice


to have something that reflects that. -- petrol prices. It is going


to be on going and it is something that, with your overtime, is adding


to the money you are picking up at the end of the year. It helps with


day-to-day living at especially when you have a family. A JCB made


the pay awards in a year that saw sales increase by more than 30%.


is a strong recovery from difficult trading conditions. It is just


three years since workers voted to accept a cut in their powers to


protect the jobs of hundreds of colleagues. -- in their hours. This


pay rise is part of a three-year deal. Although that pay settlement


is part of a long-term strategy, the company says decisions are


still being made on a quarterly basis. It has been emerging markets


that have seen the biggest up lift. Our recovery started in the early


part of 2010. It is all driven from the emerging economies where growth


is still strong and they need infrastructure, and we provide the


equipment to make it. Even the UK has been quite strong for us this


year. The company concedes the economic outlook has become more


uncertain recently but as the new year approaches, it is preparing to


recruit 350 more workers over the next four years to help meet


growing demand. There have been some other headline


pay deals. 3.75% at Cadbury and 6.1% at Jaguar Land Rover. They are


pretty rare in this economic climate. With inflation around 5%,


most people have less to spend this Christmas. Our Business


Correspondent is at John Lewis in Tamworth. What is the picture


there? Things are pretty good here. Plenty


of shoppers around. This should -- this store opened two months ago,


creating hundreds of new jobs, but things are not so buoyant elsewhere.


Figures out show that a retail sales in November were down 0.4%.


Shoppers are waiting for discounts to appear. They are also setting


out special voucher deals, as our special Correspondent reports. --


searching out. High streets are facing a perfect


storm - appalling sales and a squeeze on prices. Shoppers are


looking for the best deals and waiting for even bigger Christmas


discounts. One couple in Redditch represent the new shopper -


computer savvy and bargain aware. Luke and Larisa did most of their


shopping online and demanded vouchers. Anything I am buying, I


always said for that to Kurds to try and save money. It does not


mean I will be able to spend less - - always look for voucher codes.


you get a voucher for a free medlars, that would be a good


present for someone. There is nothing new about loyalty deals and


vouchers. This year, online sales are up 17%. Websites offer


discounts on almost everything. they are looking for discounts on


groceries, discounts to take their wives to a restaurant or a cinema,


clothing, electrical goods - everything. In these tough times,


the big chains may be offering their special discount days and


vouchers but here, in a town between Solihull and the big


shopping centres in Birmingham, small traders, too, are having to


offer deals - but they are hoping that their customers will stick


with them because of high standards of service. This flower shop has


been in business 30 years. This Christmas is looking the toughest


yet. I have noticed myself in Solihull and Birmingham, there are


sales already. The big stores are obviously suffering and they are


trying to attract people in. So I am optimistic in a way because I


think it will all be last minute, but I think people will be much


more savvy about what they spend their money on. Some shoppers do


have money, but the majority are demanding ever bigger deals.


instance, a few years ago we would offer a fully fitted bathroom for


�4,000. We are now doing the same sort of thing at 2,500 to �3,000.


Shoppers and small businesses are all saying the same thing. To


succeed this Christmas, retailers need to offer great deals and great


service. Joining me are two people who are


closely watching retail sales. Isabel is the store manager here.


But John Lewis is always a good barometer for Christmas sales, so


how are things? Very well indeed for us. Customers are certainly


shopping for Christmas gifts at the moment, albeit a little later than


we expected. Last week was the strongest ever week for the John


Lewis division overall and this week is looking promising, too.


will slogan is never knowingly undersold but our people looking


for more than price matching this year? Customers are being more


discerning than before. They are not as looking at a price


commitments. It is also about offering good quality and service.


A great example of that is the iPad which is a fantastic seller this


year, where customers get a two year guarantee of the shop with us.


You are a retail analyst. Tell us about Christmas. It is worse than


the figures might suggest because if you remember this time last year,


we were in the grip of an icy winter and shoppers were being


discouraged from going out. people waiting for bargains?


think it is a game of nerves between the retailer and the


consumer. The retailer needs to get rid of their winter stock and the


customer needs to buy for Christmas. It is who gives way first, and


getting bad value. Electronic goods are popular this year, including at


80s made. -- getting it that value. -- a tea-making machine.


The Prime Minister has been in the region talking about a plan to


recruit an army of troubleshooters to work with families affected by


addiction, anti-social behaviour and unemployment. The scheme will


cost around half a billion pounds and it is claimed it will save more


than that being paid out in benefits. Those being targeted are


so-called problem families, an estimated 13,000 in this region.


They are what David Cameron describes as troubled families and


today, he came to meet them. He announced a new fund and that early


intervention. In Smethwick, you can see just what persistent and


intensive work can achieve. 14 a's family, the problem is her 16-year-


old daughter Kirsty, who kept running away from home until she


was given her own caseworker. Tina says having one person to deal with


made a difference. There is something in place now that is


going to help us and we can help our children to get them back on


track and let them know that it is OK to fall down sometimes, but


there is someone who will pick you up and put you back together.


council has been running its own family intervention prodded for


four years but it is making spending cuts. The news that the


government is going to give it more cash to help troubled families is


welcome here, but there is a cabbie at - the government is putting in


40%, the councils have to find the other 60. -- Baker have the at.


They're always strings attached. We want to continue the work that we


are doing but that is against a backdrop of a massive cut some that


we as a local authority are facing. -- massive cuts. These families are


costing Sandwell and Birmingham and other West Midlands authorities a


fortune. They are costing council taxpayers a fortune so it is in


local government's interest to find the money to match the central


government money to turn these families around. That will actually


save council tax payers' money. the troubleshooters would not be


sent in to help this woman. Her problem is poverty. The kids had to


go hungry after she lost her job and home. It would be based on


people who have got kids that are doing crime and committing other


things. People who, like us - myself and my children - who have


had to struggle might miss out on that will stop with 13,002 troubled


families in the West Midlands, it will be down to councils to decide


who gets the help. A mother and her former partner


have appeared in court charged with murdering a Birmingham toddler.


Two-year-old Keanu Williams died at an address in Ward End in the city.


His mother Rebekah Shuttleworth, 23, and 30-year-old mood Soberton, are


caused -- charged with causing his death. They were remanded in


custody by magistrates. An inquest has recorded a verdict


of accidental death on a rugby player from Birmingham who died on


a canoeing trip in the Lake District. He was paddling the


length of All's water with a friend last able when his kayak capsized.


At the inquest heard that 22-year- old was a talented sportsman but a


week's winner, with little experience of growing. His


colleague made it safer to shore. The police are to examine a mobile


phone of a teenager found dead in a river six years ago. Jack McLeod


was last seen out with friends in Leamington. His mother has


campaigned for years to detectives to take a fresh look in the case to


find out exactly how her son died. Jack McLeod's death six years ago


shocked Leamington Spa. And how he ended up in the river is still not


known. Warwickshire Police was severely criticised for the way


they handled the investigation but today, they agreed to re-examine


his mobile phone, saying that advances in technology mean they


may now be able to pinpoint when he went into the river. Clearly, if


the new evidence establishes that will what appears to have been said


is not the case, there may well be a possibility of further criminal


investigation. But police revealed their intentions at his special


coroners' hearing today to decide whether the inquest into Jack's


death should be reopened. The original was adjourned when a man


was charged with his manslaughter, but the criminal trial that


followed was halted because of insufficient evidence. Today's


hearing follows a determined campaign by Jack's family. The


coroner concluded that all the issues surrounding his death had


already had a full airing in public during the criminal trial. However,


she did say that if new evidence came to light then Jack's family


could again apply for the inquest to be reopened. If you can


establish a time of death, whatever that be, it is a very important


part of our grieving process. We know what time he was born. We


would like to know what time, if possible, he died. Jack McLeod's


mobile phone is now in the hands of police forensic scientists, he will


be carrying out tests over the next few weeks.


Still much more ahead: A crucial European class for Birmingham City.


It is a massive night here where Birmingham City must win to keep


Much of the region is on the alert tonight for its first significant


snowfall of the winter. There is a pretty fast moving weather picture.


First, took Worcestershire. He expecting to do lots of quitting on


the roads there. -- gritting. Yes, we are looking at a very


narrow window, sometimes between 2am and 3am tomorrow morning. 2500


tons of rock salt behind me. It is looking good. Shropshire has got


something like 20,000 tonnes of grit, Warwickshire, a 14,000 tonnes,


Gloucestershire, 11,000 tons of grits, and 6,000 tonnes in


Herefordshire. We may be needing it in Worcestershire tonight because


the Met Office is saying we could get anything up to 10 centimetres


on higher ground but some parts of the region have already had a


covering of snow already. The landscape around the village of


Flash in Staffordshire was looking distinctly wintry today, as 463


metres above sea level, it is the UK's highest village and got its


most significant snowfall so far this winter. It might look picture


postcard to visitors like me but as is often the case, the snow has


brought some disruption to locals. Although driving conditions had


improved by this afternoon, earlier, locals had to contend with delays.


There cabin lot of lorries skidding about and several cars and the


roads had been shut -- there have been. It has taken a lot longer.


The seven children who attend this primary school were in a pantomime


with pupils at a neighbouring school today. The conditions meant


the performance was delayed. The we were waiting for the Flash children


to arrive. If they had not had arrived because of the weather, we


would not have had a pantomime. they are used to hard conditions


appear and the snow is not as bad as last December. There is a whole


winter to go yet though. We have a new edition to be a fleet


here, it is a mini one, good for the roads in the Malvern Hills.


With me is a councillor from Worcestershire County Council. A


lot of people are worried in the Times of cuts that gritting has


been cut. No, we have 15,000 tonnes of grit, better than ever. But you


can't do all the roads? No, we do around 800 miles of the main roads,


but there are also other facilities, like grit bins, which we have


increased this year. Tomorrow we are expecting snow. What is the


latest? The lads on standby. We are estimating about eight 2am start in


the morning. They will be here to load their vehicles and start to


grit as and when is required. will be a long life -- long night.


We could get three up to five centimetres on low ground in


Worcestershire and the south-west of the Midlands, 10 centimetres on


high ground. Take care on the roads tomorrow. Hopefully they will have


been gritted because this grit is effective up to-seven degrees. --


up to minus seven degrees. Is it going to be as bad as there


is saying? Not quite as bad but it has always


been the case that the movement of the low pressure over the South


would be influential in the outcome for us and now it has moved a


little further east, the concentration of the heaviest


snowfall will be in the south and west of the region. We are now


looking at between two and eight centimetres at most levels, instead


of 10. How long will this last four?


I think it could cause quite a lot of disruption during the rush-hour


tomorrow morning but we should be out of the danger zone for us know


by tomorrow afternoon, but ice is the problem for tomorrow night, but


you will be glad to hear that it will be turning milder next week.


Six months from now, the nation will be marking the Queen's Diamond


Jubilee. One of the biggest events will be a floating cavalcade on the


Thames. 1000 vessels will take part, among


them a sailing trow. Once as many as 700 of them plied the River Wye


They carried up to 90 tonnes of cargo at a time until the trade and


the boats gradually died out. But next June, one will proudly take


its place in the Diamond Jubilee At Tommy Nielsen's boatyard in


Gloucester, shipbuilders are recreating a piece of maritime


history. This will actually be in the water. Getting a closer look is


a group from Herefordshire who are behind the project to build the


first Wye trow for 150 years. decided, let's do something special


for Herefordshire, and so rather than just find an existing boat,


why not build a historic replica of a River Wye trow, which is hugely


significant for the region. anonymous philanthropist from


Herefordshire has donated a six- figure sum to build it. Even the


timber comes from Herefordshire. And for these shipbuilders, it's a


first. It is fantastic, isn't it. It is one of the best things, to


see all of this lovely timbre. When you see it all come together, it is


a very satisfying feeling. Up to the 19th century, trows were


used to transport freight along the Rivers Severn and Wye. 1996 is the


last time one took to the water. It's now at the Ironbridge Museum.


For Tony Gardner, this is a special moment. He's the fifth generation


of his family to work as a boatman on the River Wye. It is amazing to


think that well after a century, in my last days on the river, that I


can actually see one of these coming to life. I can't wait to see


the finished article. They are looking for between eight and ten


volunteers to row the trow up the Thames for the Queens Jubilee


Pageant. The only qualifications are you need to be fit, you need to


have some experience of rowing, and you need to come from Herefordshire.


And the Wye trow will be launched next spring.


And if you'd like to row the trow along the Thames during the Queen's


Diamond Jubilee Pageant next June, you can find out how by logging on


to the BBC Hereford and Worcester website and following the links. A


crucial night for Birmingham City in Europa League action. Our


reporter is outside the ground. What will the crowd be like?


They are expecting close to a full house this evening, we should


create a red hot atmosphere inside, and the players will need it


because they have to win and hope that blogger will win in the other


match. Braga have already qualified for the knockout stages so perhaps


they will not try too hard tonight. In these European games, it is very


much an experience, it is very much a test, I don't think anybody wants


to lose any game, whether that is the first game of the group or the


last one. It is about pride, club pride. I would expect very much


that from blogger. Of course, they are an excellent side -- Braga.


Joining me is a Birmingham City performance. Can it they do it?


course. We just have to it look at what is going on in the other game


in Belgium and hopefully Braga it will do it for us. These boys are


magic, a magic manager, fantastic football. Keep right on! It will


certainly be a special occasion if they do. If you can't get here, you


can follow the match at 8pm on the radio this evening.


It no warmth of your home as well. -- and in the warmth of your home


as well. Millions will be watching the final


of Strictly Come Dancing this weekend and it may just inspire


some of us to take up lessons. But one hospital is already using


Strictly to inspire heart surgery patients to get fit. And they think


they're on to a winne.r as, our health correspondent has been


finding out. It might not be as glamourous but


it is serious and fun. These dancers have cardiac problems. They


need exercise and it is better to be light on your feet then he be


hearted on the treadmill. I have missed it!


Ralph has had stents put in his main arteries. Last July, I


couldn't even walk, let alone dance. It has been a big boost to me.


80, Dora had her aortic stem replaced. It raises my heart rate,


which is good, because we need to do that. And Derek's had a triple


by-pass. I have had a second chance and that's it, I am taking it.


10! 10! The BBC blockbuster, Strictly Come Dancing inspired


these dance lessons that are being choreographed by the Queen


Elizabeth Hospital. It gives them confidence, it strengthens muscles,


it improves balance. It makes things so much easier and they get


enjoyment out of it. They get healthier and they lose weight. You


are a bit of a big bloater I'm afraid, so maybe you could do with


some, too. I have got my pointy shoes. I guess it is time for some


dancing. Why do I get myself into this?


OK, that's enough of that. People are eating. Healthily, I hope.


Everyone is as heavy as lead, very unsteady on the Thames, the list is


endless. I am not watching tonight! I've really am not watching


tonight! That was fantastic. His daughters will be covering their


eyes in shame. He is not a big blow to, that is a terrible thing to say


it! -- Big blow to. So far this week, we have been


bound by the activities of this area of low pressure to the south-


west, but wherever it goes, we will It has moved further east, so the


concentration of the heaviest snowfall will be to the south and


west of the region, but we will all see some between two and five


centimetres. Yesterday, the Met Office up graded its warning, the


second highest, for the early hours of Friday morning. Between two and


five centimetres at most levels, up to eight centimetres at higher


ground. Tonight is wet and windy and later it will be wintry. Under


this canopy of cloud, the rain lies. It will be with us in the next


couple of hours. It is splitting up from the south-west. The wind will


pick up in the process. The air will turn a lot colder. Minus one


The rain will turn readily to snow and moving much further south. The


concentration will be South and West. Tomorrow morning, we will get


some disruption in the rush-hour, but the snow will gradually ease.


It is looking a lot drier by the The next big problem will be ice,


particularly by tomorrow night. A look at tonight's main headlines:


Trained for the war zone - now they will make their mark on London 2012.


13,000 troops are drafted in to help with the Olympics.


Finally an early Christmas present for a Staffordshire couple. They


faced losing their animal sanctuary because of spiralling costs but


they have now received �15,000 in donations. In September, Daphne and


Cliff Wain from Pattingham feared their animals might have to be


destroyed because they couldn't afford feed and vet bills. But


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