19/03/2012 Midlands Today


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Hello, welcome to Midlands Today with Suzanne Virdee and Nick Owen.


The headlines tonight: Are these the green shoots? Around


this area, people still want to get up early in the morning and come to


work. Faces lit up around the region as


the Olympic torch bearers are announced. I'm hoping I don't fall


over and do anything silly. A hero for his fundraising.


Birmingham's Congolese community pray for footballer Fabrice Muamba.


And after 70 accidents last year involving horses on the road, a


petition to Parliament calling for more bridleways.


I try to stay off the main roads because it it it it is too busy.


Good evening, welcome to the start of the week with Midlands Today


from the BBC. Tonight, a big increase in the number of new


businesses starting up in the region, according to new research


commissioned by the BBC. The survey, from Experian, says more than


62,000 new businesses have been set up in this region since 2010.


That's an increase of just over 19%. Sandwell is one of the region's


growth hot-spots, but it's also one of the worst areas in the country


for business insolvency. Our business correspondent Peter


Plisner reports. A Sandwell based metal fabrication


firm. It's one of the companies that became insolvent last year.


Thankfully it's now trading again, although with a trimmed down


workforce. Quality Manager Simon Casey was one of the lucky ones.


I have worked here for 23 years. Ever already has bills to pay so it


was a difficult time. Hopefully we are looking to the future now.


And this man helped save the firm. Mike Dell is also president of the


Black Country Chamber of Commerce. He's not surprised that some firms


are still going bust. It is still very tight, so whether


trying to bar her from a bank or suppliers, it is very difficult to


get enough credit so sometimes you get squeezed. You might want to buy


materials but can't get credit from suppliers.


It is not all doom and Liam. The same research also at tells of new


businesses. In the last two years the number of


business in Sandwell has risen almost 23%, amongst the highest in


the region. According to the boss of this firm, Sandwell provides an


ideal location. We decided to set up here because of the scale of the


people within the Black Country. Metal has been such a recent


industry, there are not many people in the country that can do it. The


Black Country has always had a metal Spedding people there.


And according to operator Steve Walters, there's another reason.


They will do a job that other people were


Sandwell also has it's fair share of firms that send their projects


abroad, but the number of company's exporting appears to have fallen


and, again, Sandwell is one of the worst affected, down 0.6%. But here


there's also some good news. Part of the reason is that some work


previously done in places like China is now coming back to the UK.


All. So a mixed picture overall for


Sandwell, but the good news is all three companies we visited said


they were expected to be recruiting more staff within the next few


weeks. Peter Plisner BBC Midlands in Sandwell.


Later tonight there's a Midlands Today special on the economy on


BBC1. Presenter Mary Rhodes joins us now. Mary, what are the big


themes of the debate? It promises to be a lively debate


between decision-makers and those most affected by decisions. Firstly


unemployment continues to be a big problem here. Close to one in 10


looking for a job. Debt, personal debt and the cost of living


continuing to rise. Many people are struggling to match those bills. We


also try to be optimistic about growth. There are some reasons to


be cheerful. People looking for jobs here, what


are their prospects of the three gamble is that Peter visited a or


emigrate in the next three weeks. Particularly among young people.


One in five in the West Midlands without a job. One of the panel


members from the stone house gang try to help young people into work.


We asked him if the main problem was a lack of skills. I think it is


opposite. Our young people are keen to get jobs and they are all


completely are employable. They have the social and -- social


skills and qualifications. It is just the experience that they


sometimes lacked. What is your overriding feeling


about the economy? Cupboard is are struggling to get


credit, that is an issue. 62,000 new company is in the West Midlands


has to be good news, however we are started that a low base. Professor


David Bey in the keen to put things into context or as.


It even if we avoid double dip, at the prospects of growth are pretty


grim. We will not get back to pre- recession levels of output.


The Independent egg etc. In the West Midlands than anywhere else


that the country so we can end are an optimistic note.


And you can see tonight's programme, Our Economy: The Midlands Today


Debate here on BBC One at 11:05pm. Still to come tonight: After metal


thefts from hospitals, railways and churches, now car exhausts are


Hundreds of people are celebrating after being confirmed as London


2012 Olympic torch bearers when the flame visits the region. The torch,


which is being made in Coventry, will be carried by around 800


people as it passes through our region. It'll include the youngest


torch bearer anywhere in the UK. Dan Pallett reports.


He's the schoolboy with the eyes of the world on him. Dominic MacGowan


took centre stage at the Olympic torch route launch today. Rubbing


shoulders with Boris Johnson and Jonathon Edwards. This summer


around 8,000 people will carry the Olympic flame. And the 12-year-old


from Halesowen will be the youngest. I am just hoping I don't fall over


or do something silly. I'm confident and I hope it goes well.


And this man's he's not just another jogger. Peter Frazier is a


ground breaker. The 61-year-old from Leamington Spa


created history in 1981 when he became the first transplant patient


to run a marathon. He'd had a kidney replacement three years


earlier. Now he's to become an Olympic torch bearer.


The Olympics are such a big event a world come a run together in my


lifetime. I am at 61 now, but I did not even see the previous Olympics.


21-year-old Zakia Begum from Walsall cried when she learnt that


she will be a torch bearer. She has congenital muscular dystrophy.


Having a disability is not a bad thing and I don't want anyone to


think that it is. You can do anything.


Today we fouled out exactly where the torch will be going and that


included unusual places. The Erlstoke Manor will take the


torch and hundreds of school children along the Severn Valley


Railway from Bewdley to Kidderminster.


This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, not only for the


country, but for the Severn Valley Railway. We are looking forward to


the opportunity. Jack Picken will have to do the


leg-work himself. But that's no problem for him. The 12-year-old


from Sneyd Green on Stoke-on-Trent was chosen for his commitment to


physical education. Are really are good because only a


few people in the country have been chosen. I'm really excited, but I


am nervous at the same time. And while doctors thought 14-year-


old Matthew Clarke from Bishop's castle, in Shropshire, may never


learn to walk, he's overcome a number of health problems to earn


his place as a bearer. The teacher came into my lesson and


said, can I borrow Matthew, please. I was thinking I had done something


that didn't know whether it was good or bad. I saw my sister and my


mum there and I thought, what have I done. They said and had been


picked to run with the Olympic flame.


This year's annual dash around Lichfield Cathedral will also be


combined with the torch route. 2012 will see remarkable Midlanders


doing remarkable things. One of the major Olympic torch


events in our region will be in Worcester on Thursday May 24th.


Thousands of people are expected at the home of Worcestershire County


Cricket Club - and that's where we find Sarah Falkland this evening.


Sarah, how is planning going? It is very tranquil and so read


here tonight. The Cathedral lit up behind me. Come May 24th, this will


be an Olympic Party Central. There will be a massive stage at the back


with a cauldron that will be lit by the torch. A Georgia, tell us about


the party night. There will be a couple of hours of


celebration including our community choir at they will be singing in


unique vision is a bore it. It is free? It certainly is. Head of will


have to apply for tickets in the next couple of weeks.


Caroline, you have been aroused as a torch-bearer, how happy I you?


Really excited, it is a real honour. You are up he teacher and former PE


teacher for the Sunday Times? I was nominated by a past students


he was a Premiership football player. Do you know which bits you


will be doing? I don't know yet. I know it is about 300 metres.


might get the leg that brings you here into the cricket ground.


would be amazing. You could be lighting the cauldron. That would


be a dream come true. Thank you very much from both of you. There


are other parties across the Midlands at that time in Cheltenham,


Birmingham, Stoke and Coventry. We will be doing a special broadcast


here for the Worcester party. A huge amount of excitement, isn't


there? And all the information about where


you can see the torch in your part of the region is on our Facebook


page. The Congolese community in


Birmingham today joined well wishers from around the world in


praying for former Blues footballer Fabrice Muamba, who suffered a


cardiac arrest at the weekend. Muamba was a popular figure among


Congolese ex-pats during his two years at St Andrew's, helping local


charities and churches. Giles Latcham reports


In Lozells in Birmingham a salute for a hero. It's nearly four years


since he left Blues for Bolton, but when Fabrice Muamba needs a haircut


this is where he comes. He is a very, very good guy. A good guy for


everyone. Fabrice Muamba was at his wedding


to her regularly hands out tickets. I pray that everything will be


alright. Fabrice Muamba played 17 times. He


forged links in this city that have endured despite his transfer.


When he arrived in Birmingham he became part of the congregation


here in a stunt. He still worships here.


A boyhood friend travels to all of his games. He says his collapses


shocking because in the Congolese community he is the biggest name.


For the English, David Beckham is the biggest off. For me and our


whole community, we love Fabrice Muamba. Everyone. He is always


smiling, always happy, always speaking everyone. We recognise


that and that is why we support him. We wish him the best.


At Molineux yesterday, players and supporters joined in applause. A


lot of man -- a lot of praise for Aric man.


A man has been injured after an accident on the red before 2pm this


afternoon. The van collided with a lorry and a car, the driver was


taken to hospital in Coventry. We've heard lots about metal thefts


from hospitals, war memorials, railways and even church roofs, but


the latest targets are our cars. Thieves are cutting out catalytic


converters, which are part of the exhaust system to get the rare


metals they contain. And it's drivers who are left counting the


cost. Cath Mackie reports. Cathy Chesworth got in her car the


other morning, switched on the engine and was horrified. There was


a big cloud of white smoke pass the passenger door which did not seem


right. I tried again and it did start.


Overnight, thieves had stolen the catalytic converter from the car


parked outside her house in Ewyas Harold in Herefordshire. Absolutely


gobsmacked to the village like this. This is what the thieves are after.


The cat, as it's sometimes known, which filters the emissions, is


lined with precious metals such as platinum. In all, five cars were


attacked here last week, and in another village, six cars had their


catalytic converters stolen. Car mechanic Paul Oliver has seen


the damage first hand caused by catalytic converter thefts. They


are cutting run out at the front and back ends. By I have seemed


generally fall by four cars and minibuses and vans. Easy access.


Inspector Paul Gebbie is another victim. Thieves stole his catalytic


converter 18 months ago, leaving him with a �500 bill. It is a are


rebelling problem. It fits in with a larger picture of metal theft


that a whole country is experiencing. When you commit these


crimes, you will make a noise so if you ever hear anything please call


immediately. As for Cathy Chesworth, she now has


a repair bill of over �300. Still to come tonight: Can you help


unravel the mystery of up to 45,000 photographs gathering dust in


Shropshire? And with Spring on the way and


longer days ahead, do we have the weather to match? I'll be telling


you later. It's estimated that four million


people enjoy horse riding in the UK, but there are increasing fears


about the safety of horses on busy roads. Many riders now feel that


drivers no longer understand about horses and may not give them a wide


enough berth. Now a petition is underway calling for more


bridleways where horses can be ridden in safety. Kevin Reide's


report contains images which some people may find upsetting.


Over the last year there have been around 70 accidents involving


vehicles and horses on roads in the Midlands, a fact many riders, like


Kayleigh Strangewood from Shropshire, are becoming


increasingly concerned about. friends horse has had a card drive


so close that it chipped up pebbles at it and it then fell over and


fell underneath the car and caused severe injury.


A long running poster campaign has been highlighting the dangers, but


now an online petition has been set up to lobby parliament. It calls


for the number of bridleways to be increased from 20,000 miles to


91,000, in line with the number of public footpaths.


The British Horse Society now records all road accidents


involving horses on their website and this map shows some of the


hotspots - for example in this area near Sutton Coldfield there were


four accidents in the last year. Accidents are only recorded by


police if the person involved gets taken to a hospital. There are


numerous accidents where people and horses are injury at -- injured,


but they do not want to leave Ed Balls alone. A lot of accidents do


not get it all did. More than 12,000 have signed the


petition and hope a leisurely ride in the future can be just that.


Sport now, Dan's back and after the excitement of the Olympic torch


bearer announcements, it's football that dominates tonight.


Stoke City's Premier League game at Tottenham on Wednesday will go


ahead as planned. Postponement had been a possibility following


Fabrice Muamba's collapse during Saturday's game at White Hart Lane.


Yesterday, 6,000 Stoke fans travelled to Anfield, but tasted


defeat in the FA Cup quarter-finals. Luis Suarez scored first for


Liverpool. Peter Crouch made it 1-1 before half-time but there was to


be no repeat of last season's trip to Wembley. Stewart Downing


clinched Liverpool's place in the semi-finals, mid-way through the


second half. The Wolves chief executive, Jez


Moxey, has called for a sense of perspective after yesterday's five-


goal mauling by Manchester United saw the Molineux side drop to the


bottom of the Barclays Premier League. Moxey said the long term


goals for the club would not be "damaged" by a turbulent few weeks.


Nick Clitheroe reports. When West Bromwich Albion were held


to a draw at Wigan on Saturday afternoon it dropped Black Country


rivals Wolves to the foot of the Premier League. Only the most


optimistic fan would have turned up at Molineux expecting their team to


beat Manchester United and climb away from the bottom, but only the


most pessimistic was expecting another five goal mauling. After


all, United may be top, but they went out of Europe midweek. For 20


minutes the game was fairly even until Jonny Evans put the leaders


in front. But it was the rush of blood which saw Ronald Zubar sent


off for two yellow card challenges which really started the rot. By


half-time it was three as confidence visibly drained from the


Wolves players. Even the simplest principles of marking went out the


window as Javier Hernandez was gifted two further goals at the


start of the second half. But with the vocal backing of fans, who were


determined to try and lift their team, Wolves at least made it


through to full-time without any further punishment.


They had a awful lot to swallow this season and took out their


frustrations on management rather than players which shows an


admirable level of support to the squad. Those fans appreciate it is


not their fault. The pundits on Match of the Day 2


were in no mood to offer false hope. It is concentration and wanting to


do your job. The prospects look very bleak.


Wolves have taken just 15 points from the last 78, they've lost six


in a row at Molineux for the first time since 1951 and conceded 19


goals in five games. But there is hope. They're still just one point


adrift of safety and with games to come against Norwich and Bolton.


Nick Clitheroe BBC Midlands Today. If Wolves do go down, then


Birmingham City could take their place in the Premier league.


They're up to fourth in the Championship. One of five teams


separated by just a point in the race to make the play-offs with


only ten games left. Blues climbed back into those


playoff places with Saturday's 3- nil home victory against promotion


rivals Middlesbrough. This was Birmingham's 50th game of the


season already and they were rarely threatened after Nikola Zigic put


them in front at St Andrews. Marlon King ensured the victory with a


second just before the hour. But the pick of the goals was scored by


Irishman Keith Fahey who celebrated St Patrick's Day with a fine solo


third for the Blues. Anybody that puts it a good run is


capable of getting in the play-offs. There are -- they are 10 a very big


games and we are always looking at other results, but the more


important are our own. If we can perform like today a on Tuesday, we


will give ourselves a chance. Burton Albion's search for a new


manager is well underway after the club sacked Paul Peschisolido on


Saturday. Their 4-1 home defeat by Torquay was their sixth straight


defeat. And their 14th game in a row without a win. Gary Rowett and


Kevin Poole will take charge for tomorrow's home game against


Northampton. You can see all the Football League


goals on the BBC sport website. And tomorrow, we'll have a special


feature on the Shrewsbury Town Graham Turner, before their home


match against Cheltenham. That is an important game, isn't


Shropshire's Archive Service has a problem. Their collection of 45,000


photographs charts the history of the county from Victorian times


until the present day. But nobody's sure exactly what pictures the


collection holds, because it's never been fully catalogued. Now


they're hoping the public will step in and help them uncover some


hidden gems. Here's James McDonald. More than a century of Shropshire's


photographic history is contained in these boxes. And this archive


needs help. They want volunteer members of the public to sort


through the entire collection. we are offering essentially is to


go on a journey of discovery and take a lead of a box and see what


they find. A flick through a random folder


reveals snapshots of daily life long since forgotten. Who were


these women, dancing in the grounds of Shrewsbury Castle? Lord & Lady


Barnard, but does anybody know more about them? An Edwardian crowd


looks on as two gas balloons take off, but where was this event?


a photographic collection particularly, people have looked at


them but never had the time to study them. Who knows what might be


in there. Volunteers can choose their own


village or area to investigate, their local knowledge helping to


bring the old photographs to life. You get the feeling that people


living in a market out in the centre of the county are still


doing the same sort of things and have the same problems that we used


Today Wyle Cop in Shrewsbury is a busy street - in that sense not so


different to the scene 80 or 90 years ago. This Ironmongers used to


stand at number two, today it's an opticians.


We have never seen a photo of the shop, we have seen the street, but


lot of photo of our premises. There's at least three years of


work for the volunteers, perhaps longer. The end result should give


us a new view of the county's past. James McDonald BBC Midlands Today


in Shrewsbury There'll be a special event at


Shrewsbury Library on March the 27th - and there's further


information on the Midlands Today We were there for the royal wedding


last year. There will be a special event at


Shrewsbury library on 27th March. There is further information on the


Midlands Today Facebook page. And Midlands Today Facebook page. And


now the weather.. I sensed things are picking up and


the week has barely begun. Tomorrow is the official start of spring and


we will be in the British summertime by the end of the week.


I can hear some of these saying already, forget about that, where


is the rain? I am afraid that is still elusive. We have this high-


pressure taking place looming and dominating this week. It will fend


off anything remotely wet. So tonight is looking dry with clear


spells to begin with. The wind will pick up from the West and introduce


cloud across the region. Before that arrives we will see pockets of


mist. We then have the odd spot of drizzle out of their care cloud,


but mild tonight a run five to six Celsius. Moving on to tomorrow, a


great start. Overall at cloudier day for the first day of spring,


but we will see it breaks in the cloud through the afternoon. Not as


much as today. Temperatures are a well on their own, up to 13 or 14


Celsius. It goes through the week and depends on the wind direction


and as to what the temperatures will be. We have a cool breeze


coming in through the English Channel Wednesday, but in the


sunshine temperatures shoot up to sunshine temperatures shoot up to


Very nice. A look at tonight's main headlines:


A hit and run gunman leaves four dead at a Jewish school in southern


France. Three of the victims were children.


And are these the green shoots? 62,000 new businesses have started


up in the region in the past year. That's all from us this evening,


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