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Good evening and welcome to Monday's Midlands Today from the
BBC. Tonight: we must get to grips with child poverty in Birmingham -
the Bishop's mission. Homes costing up to 14 times
people's income. Calls for more affordable housing in the
countryside. A young family needing to be
employed, needing the support, if they can't find local
accommodation... A new beginning in emergency care
with four major trauma centres about to open in the West Midlands.
And waiting for the off, as racing prepares for one of its biggest
events - the Cheltenham Festival starts tomorrow.
Kids have Christmas, racing fans have the festival. It means that
Good evening and welcome to Monday's Midlands today.
The Bishop of Birmingham calls a poverty summit in an attempt to
help thousands of people living below the bread line. The Right
Reverend David Urquhart is bringing together business leaders and
community workers tomorrow at a time when three areas of Birmingham
feature in Britain's top 20 constituencies with the highest
levels of child poverty. So can the Bishop make a difference? Giles
Latcham reports. Promoting healthy lifestyles in one
of Birmingham's more deprived wards. Help the mums, the thinking goes,
and they'll take that help home to the kids.
Once you are working with women, you can access the whole family,
especially when you raise their confidence - that feeds back into
the family and the whole community. But when it comes to helping
communities across Birmingham out of poverty, progress is painfully
slow. In places the statistics appear to be getting worse.
In parts of the city, more than 50% of the people above working age are
unemployed. 35% of Birmingham children are classed as living in
poverty. That figure rises closer to 50% in suburbs like this one.
So how and why are so many squeezed into the margins of society? The
Bishop of Birmingham is leading an inquiry into the problems of a city
struggling to close the poverty gap. We have got great ambitions, great
talent. But we have got a number of people who are not yet joining in.
These lines of inquiry intend to come up with proposals to those in
power, to those who have the ability to make changes, so that
they can be dovetailed with the real needs of people.
The Bishop says traditional approaches have failed to help the
most vulnerable. Back in Alum Rock, today's problems are the same old
problems. We have always had the same issues
in the community around health. We have got the biggest issues around
help -- heart disease, infant mortality and so on. Even with
education and social activities, we need to understand what they
require, we need to understand what is needed.
One of Europe's most diverse cities, its population is one of the
youngest. The challenge, then, is unlocking a wealth of youthful
potential, free from the poverty too many are born into.
We're joined now from our studio in London by Kate Bell from the Child
Poverty Action Group. Thank you for joining us. Can you
clarify what child poverty means in real terms? Is it about the total
income into the household or the amount spent on the child?
It is usually in -- measured by income. You look at the average and
then you look at families who are receiving less than 60% of the
average. For a family with two children, that is �350 per week.
This summit led by the bishop is well-meaning, but can something
like this make a real difference? It is important that we see action
at all levels into child poverty. There's a lot that national
governments can do, but local levels can make a difference. If
you think about the experience of children going up or things like
the type of child care they can Goto and the activities they can do
at a local level, whether swimming is free for them, that can make a
difference to the prospects for children.
So the meeting is all very well but things it to happen as a result, in
your opinion? Absolutely. Summits like this are a first step. They
are about be able getting together, talking about the levers they can
call, and then the change has to happen.
We had some of the figures in the report. In your experience, how bad
is poverty in part of Birmingham? We know that Birmingham does have
some of the highest levels of poverty. It has got one of the
parliamentary constituencies that is in the top 10 highest levels of
poverty in the country. We heard in the report that over one third of
children in Birmingham are in poverty. So, yeah, it is quite high
levels of poverty. Briefly, what can be done to tackle
poverty when levels of unemployment are so high?
Unemployment is obviously a big part of the picture. That is
something that we need to action at a local and national level. As I
said, there's things that can make a difference when there are not job
there. Things like child care, even things like transport costs. Things
can make a real big difference to families'' lives.
You're watching Midlands Today from the BBC. Thanks for joining us.
Later in the programme: What hope now for Wolves fans after
another bitterly disappointing A 40-year-old man is under arrest
tonight accused of holding his 79- year-old mother hostage in her home
for 28 hours. Police had been at the scene in Oldbury since 7am
yesterday after reports the man had a knife. A man emerged from the
house at 11am today this morning. It's not thought his mother was
hurt during the incident. The suspect in custody - the moment
a day and a half long siege ended, filmed on a mobile phone.
Armed police were called to this suburban street after reports that
the man had a knife and was holding his mother hostage. Negotiators and
medical staff were keen to ensure a peaceful conclusion. At just after
11:30 came the news that the siege at Perry Hill Road in Oldbury was
over. A male has been arrested for false
imprisonment and threats to kill. He has now been taken to a nearby
police station, where the investigation will begin. I can
confirm this was a domestic incident. It was Mother and Son.
The elderly lady has been taken to hospital. Noting the didn't
injuries - she is just being checked out.
A student who lived opposite describe what he had seen.
He was looking out the window all night. He was looking out at the
negotiators outside. That is all I saw. I saw his face and his mother
was in the window as well. Alia, the police described the
operation to end the siege as sensitive and complex. Their aim
was to bring it to a peaceful conclusion and appears to have
succeeded. 29 hours after the siege began, the
cordon has been lifted and residents are able to go about
their business. This siege has taken up a lot of manpower, and
officers will be keen to find out what led to it.
The widening gap between rural house prices and the annual
salaries of those living in villages has been highlighted today.
There's a series of events this week designed make people more
aware of the problem. Some rural homes now cost up to 14 times the
average incomes of potential buyers hoping to remain in the communities
they grew up in. Sarah Falkland is in South Warwickshire for us
tonight. Sarah, what's being done about this?
Just around the corner is a new housing association development.
Just eight homes are there, and they are newly built. They will be
available for rent and part ownership. Christina behind the bar
is one of the people who has registered and is on the list and
Christina is fourth generation here, and her son had to move out when
her son was born because she could not afford the prices. She is
pinning her hopes on his home, where the rent is �400 per month
and her parents are around the corner.
My family live in the village. It is more travelling for work because
I work in the pub, so to move back would make my life so much happier.
The cost of living in the countryside is now beyond most
people's which. In the West Midlands, homes are on average 12
times the local salary compared to eight times the salaries of towns
and cities. Here, local services appear to be alive and well. But
campaigners say squeezing people out of the role market is bad news
for the countryside. You destroy local communities. When
you have got, say, a young Perret of family needing to be employed,
needing the support of family, if they can't find accommodation, they
have to move away. You don't have rural bus services. They have
closed down. According to a survey, 60% of
people in the West Midlands countryside said they would like to
see a small number of new, affordable homes for local people.
The question is, do they really mean it?
Will be great currencies of this country is village life. -- one of
the great calluses. If we keep on expanding, it will disappear.
are some people in the village like that, who want to keep it posh for
themselves, but not everybody is like that. There's no wealth of
able to live. They are forced out. It will be nice if they can get rid
of these houses. Christine will find out if she has been successful
in a few months' time. Schemes like this are few and far between.
Charities want the government to What can you tell us about the
rural housing price hotspots in the region?
Well, the National Housing Federation has released some
figures today which graphically show the problem confronting house
buyers in our region. The worst three examples for us are:
Malvern Hills in Worcestershire, where the average house price is
�250,000, nearly 14 times the average salary of �18,000.
In Stratford upon Avon, here in Warwickshire, the average house
price is �289,000 - that's 13.5 And across Herefordshire, the
average house price is �224,000, nearly 13 times the averarge salary
13 times a local salary. You can find out more about what is
happening on the West Midlands by looking at our Facebook site.
And there'll be a special Midlands Today programme looking in depth at
the state of the region's economy next Monday night. Our Economy: The
Midlands Today Debate starts at 11:05 on BBC One, presented by one
Mary Rhodes. Final preparations are being made
for the opening of four major trauma centres across the West
Midlands. They'll deal with complex emergencies including major head
and multiple injuries, amputations and severe knife or gunshot wounds.
The centres will open later this month at the Queen Elizabeth and
Children's hospitals in Birmingham, the University Hospital Coventry
and Warwickshire, and the new University Hospital of North
Staffordshire, from where Joanne A Sea King helicopter makes a
maiden flight to the Major Trauma Centre in Stoke on Trent. The
practice mission from RAF Valley Anglesey was in preparation for the
centre opening as one of four across the West Midlands on March
26th. A major trauma centre is a
specialist hospital for dealing with patients with multiple
injuries - a head injury, stabbing, shooting. It is a specialist area
with specialist equipment. It is about saving lives, but also about
reducing disability. The NHS estimates the trauma
centres could save an extra 60 lives a year in the West Midlands.
Guest of honour Grace Currie knows that only too well, having already
benefitted from care at the University Hospital of North
Staffordshire. The 18-year-old from Ellesmere has learned to walk and
talk again after being hit by a car She was taken to Shrewsbury
Hospital, where basically they said it did not look good. But the only
hope she had was that they would accept her here. She is going to
have a chance here. Thank God, she did. What have they done for you?
Saved my life, in more ways than Patients can be trysts --
transferred straight from an ambulance or a helicopter for
treatment bus-stop the patients will take no time to get here. The
major, centre will be housed at the brand new accident and emergency
department. Still ahead tonight: We're back to school with the
Olympic hopeful who dreams of being a class apart at London 2012. And
still grappling with those opposing forces - as the temperatures rise,
the prospects of rain fall. But that could change by the end of the
Plenty to mull over in sport tonight. Dan's also looking ahead
to the Cheltenham Festival, and back at a fairly grim weekend for
our Premier League clubs. One of the region's biggest sporting
events gets underway tomorrow with day one of the Cheltenham Festival.
More than 200,000 racegoers will cram into the course over the next
four days to see champions crowned. Glasses will be raised in
celebration and commiseration. But the one liquid that's been the hot
topic in the build-up has nothing to do with alcohol. They appeared
The legions of irish-trained runners have been arriving for the
Cheltenham Festival across the weekend. Champion Irish trainer
Willie Mullins has brought an incredible 37 horses to the meeting.
He was keeping a watchful eye over his runners today but there's one
thing on his and everyone's mind. That's because this morning's
weather has been the exception. For three weeks now Cheltenham have
been watering the course. And you can see why. Thursday last week was
like most days recently - bright and sunny. And firm ground can be
fast and dangerous. We want a surface that has got plenty of
moisture in it. And with good ground the very best horses can
take centre stage - that's what makes Cheltenham so special.
have Christmas, we have the Cheltenham Festival. Only the best
making it and only the very, very best go on to win it. It is a
fantastic occasion. The two legged invasion is also underway -
Cheltenham Station will bear much of the brunt. And you only have to
cross the road from the station to see some of that �50 million being
spent. Lunchtime at the Midland Hotel today will be the last quiet
moment before Saturday morning. is absolutely massive. It is an
integral part of the year for us. It gives us three months' takings
in four days. So the scene is set. The course has been prepared to
sparkle in the forecast sun. And everyone from jockeys, owners,
trainers and punters will all be dreaming of this particular spot.
It is obviously a real boost for the local economy but for the
bookies as well. The bookmakers this here are seeing between 250
and 300 million will be spent over the four days in gambling. There
are six red-hot favourites. It just gets better and better, really
exciting and a fantastic week to look forward to. And of course
there will be full coverage of the Cheltenham Festival on BBC Radio
Gloucestershire and BBC Radio 5 Live - with plenty of reports and
reaction on the BBC Sport website. Steve Bruce has been talking about
the Wolves job. And how close he came to replacing Mick McCarthy as
manager. Speaking on the BBC's Match of the Day 2, Bruce said he
never had a second interview at Molineux, which he described as "a
really difficult job." Ian Winter reports. Disgruntled fans are fast
becoming a regular fixture at Molineux. When everything's going
wrong, they make a bee-line for Billy Wright. And four weeks after
calling for the head of Mick McCarthy, they added Jez Moxey and
Steve Morgan to the list. No wonder they're angry. They'd just watched
their team out-played by one of their relegation rivals. Junior
Hoillet ran the show. And Wolves seemed powerless to stop him
scoring both goals in a worryingly one-sided Blackburn victory.
Afterwards, Steve Morgan went outside to meet the fans. But his
comments only led to confusion, which Wolves are now trying to
clarify. Our chairman did not say Steve Bruce turned down the
Manager's job. The managerial role was offered to one person, before
Terry Connor was appointed manager, and we can confirm that wasn't
Steve Bruce. Steve Bruce is a fine man and manager, the statement says.
I did not go for a second interview but there was dialogue during the
week and at one stage I thought we were close. It was their
prerogative the book they chose and I wish him the best of the lap
because it is an really difficult job at the moment for an
experienced manager let alone someone who is just trying to cut
their teeth. Whilst the misery continued at Molineux, it all
vanished at Villa Park. In the dying seconds of stoppage time, the
Austrian striker Andreas Weimann reacted quickly to score his first
Premier League goal, and clinch Villa's victory against Fulham.
was brilliant. I cannot really describe it. As soon as the ball
went in I went crazy. I think everybody dead. It was just
unbelievable. One moment of madness proved costly for Ricardo Fuller.
He'll miss the next three games, starting with Stoke's FA Cup
quarter-final at Liverpool. Didier Drogba added to the Potters pain by
scoring Chelsea's winner. West Bromwich Albion found Wayne Rooney
too hot to handle. The England striker scored both goals in
United's 2-0 win. And Jonas Olsson will miss Saturday's game at Wigan
after getting sent off. United's next match is at Molineux, so if
the Wolves fans need cheering up, then could I suggest a little
flutter on Our Mick in the 2.40 at The former England manager Sven
Goran Eriksson is backing Birmingham City to gain promotion
in May. Speaking on tonight's Late Kick off, Eriksson praises the
Blues' boss Chris Hughton for his achievements this season. On
Saturday, Blues fell behind to a Gary McSheffrey goal at Coventry,
but former Sky Blues striker Marlon King secured a point which means
Birmingham now sit 7th in the Championship. And you can hear more
from Sven and an insight into Birmingham City's Academy in Late
Kick Off tonight at five past eleven on BBC1. It was a memorable
weekend, and a double celebration for Shrewsbury Town, and their
manager Graham Turner. First, Ian Sharps scored their match-winning
goal against Burton to lift the Shrews into second place in League
Two. It's now 26 games since their last home defeat. And last night,
at the Football League Awards, the Shrewsbury boss was honoured for
his special contribution to the game as a player and manager during
a lifetime's service to professional football. I think you
have to dedicate yourself to it. You have to go to matches when you
least want to. You have to do all sorts of things that people do not
realise. To be successful you need to put the time and effort in.
Graham Turner wasn't our only winner last night. Coventry City's
Gael Bigirimana was voted Championship Apprentice of the Year.
The 18-year-old arrived in Britain as a refugee from war in Burundi 8
years ago. He's played 21 times for the first team this season after
only making his debut in August. just want to say thank you to all
be Academy staff and thank you to the manager for giving me the
opportunity I never thought I would have at 17 years old. And while
we're talking sport, after all our medals at the World Indoor
Championships at the weekend, it really feels like the countdown's
underway to the London Olympics. One of our Olympic hopefuls took
time out today to make sure a legacy of inspiration's passed on
to the next generation. Banging the drum for Olympic sport. Heptathlete
Louise Hazel has a dream of winning a medal at the London Games this
summer and she wants these young fans to share that dream. It's nice
to break-up the day and come and see the kids and feel their
excitement. It makes you realise you were once little ones as well
so it really brings you back down to Earth. It's the values the
Olympics and Paralympics represent that these children are learning at
Grove School in Birmingham as part of the Active 4 2012 programme.
Former Aston Villa midfielder Ian Taylor was on hand to give his
support too. You can sense the excitement building towards the
2012 Olympics. I am looking forward to seeing what D G B football team
is like and how it via matches go. People think that Paralympics are
different, they are different but they are still fun. I am over the
moon. Louise won Commonwealth gold in Delhi two years ago. Getting
herself in perfect shape for a shot at the Olympics is dominating her
life now. As you approach the outdoor season that is when the
butterflies start fluttering in your stomach. And she had one final
treat for the kids. If getting this close to a gold medal won't inspire
you, nothing will. The Lord Mayor of Birmingham has praised the St
Patricks Day parade for bringing the West Midlands communities
together. More than 85,000 people were out in Digbeth yesterday for
one of the biggest events of its kind in the world. The Irish were
joined in their celebrations by Polish, Indian and Chinese groups.
It is a demonstration of Birmingham's diversity. And it is
not just a Birmingham event but a Midlands event, I have spoken to
people coming from Shropshire and North Wales for these events.
cameras were at yesterday's event. Log on to the Midlands Today
Facebook page to see if you were caught on film. Here's Shefali. As
it turned out, some of us today ended up seeing a quite a bit of
sunshine and that's the way it goes this week. The amount of sunshine
we get will determine how far those temperatures rise. Hopefully, we'll
be heading towards the sorts of values we had over the weekend -
Pershore being the warmest spot But for those of you desperate for
rain, high pressure's initially going to see to it that you don't
get get any. It's towards the end of the week and into the weekend
that these fronts begin to make some headway. As for tonight,
you'll find the cloud thickening up again to perhaps set off the odd
spot of drizzle. But for those parts that saw some sunshine this
afternoon, you're most likely to see some mist and probably some
dense patches of fog. But with temperatures only dropping to lows
of seven or eight, it's a going to be mild. So a slow process through
the morning tomorrow of the fog dispersing and the cloud breaking
to give some sunshine and it's that sunshine that's going to make all
the difference between you possibly getting highs of 16C or just 10.
Wednesday is likely to be a similar story. There may be a better chance
of the cloud breaking up on Thursday, in which case the
temperatures could soar but it's on Friday and into the weekend that
things begin to cloud over and we see some rain. A look at tonight's
main headlines: Hosepipe bans are to come into force as soon as next
month across south and eastern England. And the Bishop of
Birmingham warns that the city must get to grips with child poverty.
Just before we go, congratulations to a dog called Elizabeth who's won
the top award at Crufts. The seven- year-old Lhasa Apso is owned by