15/02/2012 Midlands Today


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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


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