02/01/2012 Midlands Today


02/01/2012

The latest news, sport and weather for the Midlands.


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Good evening. �15 is being added to all our water bills because of

:00:07.:00:11.

people who can't, or won't, pay. For the water companies, non-

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payment is a growing problem because it's illegal to cut off the

:00:14.:00:17.

supply to a home. Here's our environment correspondent David

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Gregory. At Severn Trent Water in Coventry,

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they're walking a tricky line between customers who can't pay and

:00:24.:00:34.
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customers who can pay, but refuse. It is difficult. All we are looking

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at is an account. We do not know what the best option is for them.

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We encourage people to speak to us as early as possible if they are

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struggling. Tell us their situation. We will then decide the best option

:00:49.:00:59.
:00:59.:01:00.

for them. If we do not know, we cannot help. The government has

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just published its white paper on this issue. It is a problem that is

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getting worse. The cost of bad debt has been steadily rising, adding

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�11 to water bills five years ago and going up every year since until

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it now stands at �15 on every water bill in England. Consumer groups

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were also looking for action. Governments have put in place

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legislation already for water companies to develop these tariffs

:01:27.:01:31.

for people who cannot pay. We are working with the companies to do

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that. We were hoping for a bit more. There is helpful customers in the

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south-west because their bills are so high, but there is an

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affordability problem everywhere in the country. The solutions in the

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white paper do not let adequate for the size of the problem. In the

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meantime, it is ironic that the increased cost of paying for bad

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debt on water bills has the greatest effect on the poorest who

:01:57.:02:07.
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are least able to pay. A man has been arrested after a

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woman was found dead in a car in Nuneaton in Warwickshire in the

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early hours of today. Her death is thought to be suspicious, but tests

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are still being carried out. The man, who is 31, is being questioned

:02:19.:02:21.

by police. A 48-year-old man has died while

:02:21.:02:23.

canoeing in Shropshire. Police said he was rescued by emergency

:02:23.:02:27.

services from a weir in the River Teme in Downton on the Rock, near

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Ludlow, this morning. Members of the public raised the alarm, but

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efforts to revive him failed. Ticket prices on public transport

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have gone up today. Rail fares have risen by 6%, bus companies

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increases are around 5%. National Express says their bus fare rise is

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simply because of increasing costs, while train companies say the money

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will be put into new trains, faster services and better stations. The

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move has been criticised by the West Midlands passenger group

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Travel Watch, which is calling for government intervention to stop

:02:49.:02:55.

fares from spiralling. Birmingham City fans observed a

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minute's silence today in memory of their former captain. Gary Ablett

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died from cancer. He was 46. He made more than a hundred

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appearances for the club between 1996 and 1999. Today, Birmingham

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City drew 1-1 at Peterborough. That was after conceding a goal inside

:03:11.:03:15.

the first 30 seconds. And Coventry City remain bottom of the league

:03:15.:03:19.

after losing 1-0 at West Ham. In the Premiership, Aston Villa

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lost 2-0 at home to Swansea. Two first-half goals from Stoke City's

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Peter Crouch saw off Blackburn Rovers. A 2-1 win for the Potters

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at Ewood Park. And Chelsea's Frank Lampard sneaked a late goal at

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Molineux to beat a battling Wolves 2-1.

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Onto League One now and Walsall lost 2-1 at Bury.

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And in League Two, Hereford won 2-0 against Burton Albion. Cheltenham

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beat Port Vale 2-1. And Shrewsbury drew 1-1 with Northampton.

:03:51.:04:01.
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Big changes on the way. If you are heading back to work after the

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Christmas break, be prepared for a tricky Canute. After a fine evening,

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things will change tonight. The winds will strengthen and a band of

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rain comes in from the West. Heavy bursts of rain, very strong winds,

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up to 50, 60 mph in places. Things improved during the date. The rain

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will clear to the south. Some wintery showers in the north later.

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Be prepared for a tricky commute. The World Darts Championship final

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starts in just over two hours, but we can already tell you the

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winner's from Staffordshire. The reigning champion Adrian Lewis is

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