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Hello and welcome to Midlands Today with Nick Owen and Suzanne Virdee.
The headlines tonight: Unemployment is up again in the region. It rose
by 13,000 between October and December last year.
It's been a real desperation feeling, depressed, like I don't
have a purpose. Bring back the traffic lights. A
family's plea after a man was hit and killed at a rearranged junction.
How can a 71-year-old man share a space with a five tonne bus? You
can't. Nearly 40 years on, the brother and
sister of the youngest victim of the Birmingham pub bombs call for
an inquiry into exactly what happened.
Only those who have been there know the grief and suffering that stays
with you your whole life. And, after a dry winter, are we
once again facing a drought? Good evening, welcome to
Wednesday's Midlands Today from the BBC. Tonight, two sides of the
region's economy. More gloomy unemployment figures, but bumper
sales for one of our biggest car manufacturers.
The number of people unemployed in the region has risen by 13,000.
It's a grim statistic but JLR is bucking the trend, taking on staff
and celebrating record breaking profits with sales up by 57%. More
on that in a moment. First let's take a closer look those
unemployment figures. The overall number of people out of work in the
final three months of last year final three months of last year
rose to 247,000. That's 9.3% of the potential working population. Ben
Godfrey spoke to one man desperate to work but who says he's been told
accepting a part time job would make him worse off, because he'd
make him worse off, because he'd make him worse off, because he'd
Simon and Milligan is an experienced what unemployed retail
manager. There is absolutely nothing
available. He left his job after his bank
changed their mind and with through a previous offer.
He receives a jobseeker's allowance and housing benefits. He says that
if he worked any less than their pay five Arabs per week on the
minimum wage then it would not match his current benefits. -- 35
Arrows per week. I will be out of pocket if I take
on a part-time job. What is the benefit of working?
The number of people working part- time in the United Kingdom has
increased by 83,000 over the last quarter. The largest increase since
comparable records began in 1992. The Citizens Advice Bureau says
that some job seekers are not properly informed.
If you move from being out of work you must claim additional
assistance whilst in work. Sometimes people do not understand
that. With 9% of the West Midland
population unemployed the Government recognises a need for
reform. We need to build and incentives to
work in the welfare system. That is fundamental. People find themselves
better off on benefits and we must move away from that situation.
Simon says he is now suffering bouts of depression. He does not
want to be on benefits but is left Luxury car maker Jaguar Land Rover
has announced a major boost in profits and it's partly down to
soaring sales in China. More cars are now sold in the Far East than
the UK and they've benefited from the popularity of the new Range
Rover 'Evoque' model which came out last year. Bob Hockenhull reports.
Jaguar Land Rover's good fortune continues apace against the
background of a fragile economy. Latest figures show company profits
rose by 57% in the last quarter of 2011 to �440 million. All this as
the company looks to recruit hundreds more workers in the
Midlands and build a new engine plant at Wolverhampton.
Success in emerging economies is driving growth. There is a huge
middle-class in emerging countries keen to show off their wealth and
what better way than by driving a Range Rover?
It's not good news for another West Midlands firm though. Brierley Hill
based Aerospace parts supplier Hampson Industries is up for sale.
The company founded in West Bromwich in 1947 has �55 million of
debt. A far cry from the fate of Jaguar Landrover's Indian owners
Tata. It's reporting overall profits of 41%, paving the way for
yet more expansion of its car business.
Later in the programme, find out how grafitti art is being used to
inspire and empower young men who The family of a pensioner who died
a month after being hit by a bus have called for traffic lights to
be re-installed at the junction where the accident happened. 71-
year-old David Thompson from Coventry was knocked over in the
city centre after changes had been made to the road system.
David Thompson, who was partially sighted, was a regular visitor to
Coventry city centre, but just over a month ago whilst crossing this
new junction he was hit by a bus. He suffered a catalogue of serious
injuries and died on Sunday. The junction had previously been
equipped with traffic lights but they were removed as part of a
scheme to make it a so called "shared space", a move which has
angered David's family. How can a 71-year-old man she is a
space with a five tonne bus? You cannot do that. I am sure of the
traffic lights where there this would not have happened.
A police investigation into the incident is on going, and Coventry
Council say they can't comment whilst that's ongoing. But they did
point out that there had been three accidents on this junction when the
traffic lights were here in the five years leading up to their
removal. Other local authorities where this type of junction has
been introduced report safety improvements, for example, Ashford
in Kent has had a similar scheme for more than three years, and say
there has been a more than 50% reduction in pedestrian and vehicle
accidents. There were mixed views in Coventry today.
I think it is all right. We have an attitude where we do not
give way. Everybody wants to the first.
If I was driving here I would not know who's right of way it is. That
would be an issue. The family now hope they will get
answers from an ongoing police investigation. An appeal for
witnesses has been renewed. A nursery worker who was jailed for
life for the rape of a toddler and a string of sexual offences against
children has had his sentence cut. Paul Wilson, who is 21 and from
Nechells in Birmingham, was convicted last year of raping the
toddler from Little Stars Nursery, where he worked for eighteen months.
Wilson had his sentence cut from 15 years to 13-and-a-half years on
appeal. French prosecutors have begun an investigation into a Nazi
deemed stag party at a French ski resort which the local MP, Aidan
Barclay, attended. There have been calls for the Conservative whip to
The family of a teenager killed in the Birmingham pub bombings nearly
40 years ago are urging the police to reopen their investigation into
who planted the bombs. In her first ever TV interview the younger
sister of Maxine Hambleton says she'll never find peace until the
killers are caught. Giles Latcham reports.
We came home from school and discovered that Maxine was there.
We asked, was she hurt? No, she was killed. Our lives fell apart.
Maxine was in one of two pubs are bombed by the IRA in 1974. There is
now no trace but the sense of loss for the family's remains real.
Maxine Hambleton's older brother is haunted by his memories of the
night. I gave her a lift into town. There
were probably only minutes and it. Only those who have been there are
no their grief and suffering that stays with you all your life. There
is not aid day that has gone by that I do not think about her.
The convictions of the six men jailed for the bombings were
overturned in 1991. So who was guilty? The family's generated a
petition aimed at reopening the case. A local MP supports them.
It is about giving closure to the family's. That is what needs to
happen. Everybody has the right to justice.
There were 21 people killed. Who is investigating for them?
The winds that remain open and not everybody is prepared to grieve in
A Black Country metal dealer has introduced new ways of checking
customers to help combat the rise in thefts, before the government
brings in its own legislation. New laws would stop cash in hand
transactions, making it harder for thieves to sell on stolen goods
such as lead stripped from roofs. But one trader here isn't prepared
to wait and is bringing in a register of customers. Dave Smith
is a regular at the scrap yard but today he is signing up to a
voluntary Registrar of customers which means that the recyclers hold
his personal details to help crack down on illegal trading.
It is a good idea. There are factories being closed whilst
people are stealing copper. It is a disruption of the whole working
industry. Customers must also complete legal
paperwork and the register is used for cross-checking.
Sadly we cannot take everybody's war but that they are telling us
the truth. But by voluntary membership of the scheme we know
that their information is correct, protects the business, and protect
the customer. That is the way forward for this trade.
Metal prices have rocketed in recent years. It is easy to see why
tightening up the industry has become an issue. In West Bromwich
police are looking of the owners of a distinctive plaque believed to
have been stolen. It belongs to a family whose
members fought for their country. It has sentimental value and we
would like to restore it to its rightful place and also bring any
offenders to justice for this despicable crime.
Back at the recyclers the owners say that a plaque like that would
immediately raised alarm bells if brought in. The police are
appealing for information. A war reporter has been following that
story and is with us now. -- hour reporter. Police are keen to
reunite that black with its rightful owner. But it is turning
into a mystery. -- reunite the plaque with its owner. It is about
to family members, Edward Welch and Vere Welch, who fought for their
country. We have tracked down a picture of another brother who
fought with the 91st Highlanders. It is thought that the plaque comes
from Cheltenham because of a marking on it which refers to the
family home which stood in Cheltenham. The thought is that it
was in a church in that a rare and that anybody can shed any light,
police would like to hear from them. Still to come here on Midlands
Today, the stoppage time penalty that could just be the turning
point in Coventry City's troubled season. And after such a dry winter,
there's a desperate need for more rain and it looks as though we
could get some this week - it's just a question of whether it's
enough. I'll have more for you later.
To the question over how much rain we'll get in the next few weeks.
There's growing concerns about whether the Midlands could be
heading for a drought. River and reservoir levels are low and,
behind the scenes, enormous efforts are underway to make sure our taps
don't run dry. Ahead of a big government summit next week, our
Environment Correspondent has been investigating. Draycote reservoir
in Warwickshire. Read-outs in the control room revealed that levels
have plummeted. Normally at this time of year we
would be at around 80%, instead of 50%.
This pipe we aim to complete by next week and we will aim to pump
12.5 million litres of water per day.
That is five pipes flowing daily and it is one of dozens of schemes
behind the scenes. Severn Trent are confident that customers will not
face water restrictions at the moment but the lack of water is
already causing problems for farmers. It is a patchy picture.
The river is high enough to top up the reservoir but others are so low
that extraction licences have been suspended. Bad news for farmers.
This is an unusual situation. We encourage farmers to fill their
winter storage reservoirs for the summer. We're still trying to help
them do that but obviously with this whether there are limitations.
We're getting closer and closer to 11 the programme we were discussing
unemployment figures, along with the good news for Jaguar Land Rover.
-- earlier in the programme. We can now talk to the former trade
minister, Lord Digby Jones. Let's talk about Jaguar Land Rover.
Fantastic figures. What can other companies learn? They are well
invested. A modern factory in the modern plant. And a product range
to die for. They are emblematic of British manufacturing. If you make
something which Asia once, and which is a good, well-made product,
you will sell all of them. Our exports are cheaper and the
customers in Asia, possibly Brazil and America, the want to buy this
stuff. If we're in Liverpool, or the West Midlands, it is great news.
It is British... We are very proud, ardent we?
Just remember that success has many parents, failure is an orphan.
There were questions previously about whether the parent company
would continue investing, and whether we had sold out to the
Indians. Not only have they invested but they have produced
even more money. Good news from the Bank of England,
based say they do not expect a double dip recession. Are we on the
road to recovery? I do not think things will get
worse. Inflation is coming down. The employment figures are bad news
in one or two ways but if you have a skill, skilled employment is
going up. It will bump along the bottom but it will not get any
worse. What I would say to people watching tonight, if you have got a
young person, do not be disheartened. We do not need rocket
scientists, but get in the habit of getting a scale. When the economy
perks up it will feed through quickly.
So to recap, I get a scale, and if you are a company, look for a
market? Yes, and if you have a part-time
job, get some benefits, and if you have benefits, get some skills. It
does not have to be all-or-nothing. That is important.
Thank you for talking to us. It's been a long hard season at the
Ricoh Arena. But one man captured the mood of 15,000 Coventry City
fans last night. It was the best feeling I've had in a long time,
said Gary McSheffrey, after two successful penalties gave the Sky
Blues fresh hope that relegation isn't a racing certainty after all.
Coventry City are still fighting for survival. They were tied at 1 -
1 until injury time last night when the score but this one are and will
lifted off the bottom, now six points adrift of safety.
We have for home wins from our last five. This was a good win tonight.
We deserve it. The Blues is slapped a couple of
places to 5th after a goalless draw at home to Hull City. Walsall were
defeated at Oldham, they missed out on a point to a last minute penalty
miss. Shrewsbury Town impressive home record continued. They are
just two points off the leaders. We had lots of possession. We did
not open them up as much as we should have done but in the end I
thought we deserved it. And port Vale produced the goal of
the night. A spectacular volley from Lewis dogs which earned them a
draw at Bradford City. What's the latest on Wolves search
for a new manager? One man has emerged today as the
red hot favourite to succeed Mick McCarthy. The bookies are quoting
odds of 4/1 that Alan Curbishley will get the job. He's 54 years old.
He spent 15 years with Charlton where he twice won promotion to the
Premier League. And six years ago, he was being tipped as a future
England manager. He also likes the Midlands, having played for
Birmingham City and Aston Villa in the early 1980s.
And it's sure to be a big night for Stoke City tomorrow, the next
chapter in their Europa League adventure. The Spanish giants
Valencia are coming to the Britannia Stadium. They're lying
3rd in the Spanish Primera Liga, so Stoke must make the most of their
home advantage in tomorrow's first leg. But the Potters have lost only
once in 10 Europa League games this season. So it could be a
fascinating match. Tomorrow, we'll have a full preview of the big game.
And of course, there will be full match commentary on BBC Radio Stoke.
And their next game is against Crawley, a bet of a contrast!
It's normally thought of as a blot on some of our landscape, but this
week it could be a force for good. It's being used to inspire young
people on one of the region's most deprived housing estates. The
Bromford Estate is in the Hodge Hill constituency of Birmingham,
where more than 10% of residents are on benefits - the second
highest rate in the country. But it's hoped this week's scheme will
change attitudes both on the estate and beyond.
Graffiti can be a common sight here on the Bromford estate in North
Birmingham. But this time it's being done for the right reasons.
This cube will eventually become a piece of public art known as
"Bromford Dreams". We want to show that the media
portrayal of the youth of today is not very true. That stereotype is
completely wrong. We can do things to help the community, not destroy
This partnership between the University of Birmingham and the
youth charity Worth Unlimited has attracted the renowned local
graffiti artist Mohammed Ali. He wants to help inspire these young
men and encourage them to aim high. It is easy to talk about doom and
gloom with the economic situation. But actually, trying to fight
against the grain a little bit. young men taking part this week are
willing to learn, and try something new. Their background is far from
privileged but their attitude is positive.
I have learnt lots on the street to be fair. And I have a lot of will
power. If you do not do what you have got
to do then you will not work for a job.
The Cube will eventually go on display at Birmingham Museum and
Art Gallery and will bring this group's message to a wider audience.
But that audience also needs to be willing to learn.
People look at what we have done and it might open their eyes. Not
everybody is interested in Brom fought.
A handwritten manuscript by Sir Edward Elgar has been discovered by
council staff sorting through older boxes. It was replayed on the Taras
instrument made up of keyboards and bells. Now the council aims to put
And now the weather. Sightings of daffodils this week but hardly
surprising that nature is confused. But we will see a temporary drop in
temperatures on Sunday. Warm air will desert us temporarily but it
should return by next week. Before, a couple of fronts to come through.
And there will be rain later in the week. But not nearly enough to
allay fears of the potential to rout. Speaking of the cold,
temperatures will drop tonight. We are envisaging lend their clear
spells than originally thought. -- length hair. We are looking at a
touch of ground frost. With that those clear spells we're looking at
sunshine in the morning. Gradually throughout the day the cloud will
thicken from the north. This front will head from that direction and
introduce light rain to parts of Staffordshire by the afternoon. But
it will stay largely dry. Reasonable temperatures, are around
ten Celsius with light winds from the West. Tonight we'll see the
cloud increase across the region and the rain moved southwards. So a