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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,