30/03/2012 Midlands Today


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Hello, welcome to Midlands Today with Mary Rhodes and Nick Owen. The


headlines tonight. Pumping up the prices, petrol


stations cash in as supplies run low following a week of queues and


misery. It's ridiculous, people are clearing places out. It's the


Easter holidays, I am of the the children, doing stuff, so I would


rather not run out. A Labour big hitter makes jobs his


priority as the race hots up to become Birmingham's first directly


elected mayor. I believe it is time. Our city to come together like


never before. Shock as the dead-ball world as the


Aston Villa captain Stilyan Petrov is diagnosed with acute leukaemia.


An Spaghetti Junction from the air, but this weekend, you can see it


from a different angle, lying on Good evening, welcome to Friday's


Midlands Today from the BBC. Tonight, prices at the pumps rise


to record levels as fuel supplies run low following a week of misery


for motorists. The tanker drivers' strike may be off for now, but the


aftermath of the rush to top up was being felt across the Midlands this


evening. Some garages have been emptied of petrol and diesel while


others are close to running dry, after a huge surge in demand. The


worst now seems to be over but tonight one garage in Birmingham


hiked its prices to nearly �1.59 for a litre of unleaded amid fears


about profiteering. Ben Godfrey has this report.


Is this a sign of things to come? A petrol station in Perry Barr today


charging almost �1.64 diesel -- one has 60, for diesel and unleaded.


Yesterday, it was around �1.59. -- �1.49. The attendant could not


explain the prices, the manager was not available. It is connected to


the apparent rush of petrol? For a snapshot of forecourts in the West


Midlands, we joined the morning commute between Dudley and


Birmingham. It is not often you see traffic control at a petrol station


but these are unusual times. Last night, queues stretched for miles


outside the Studley supermarket, but this morning, commuters were in


luck. A tanker had delivered at dawn. We have had certain spikes at


busy times where we have had people supporting the traffic flow. In the


main, nothing not manageable. we headed to Aldbury. This debt of


the strike might have receded, but big queues were still forming.


red light came on so I do need petrels. It is the Easter holidays,


I am with the children doing stuff, I would rather not have run out.


is ridiculous, people cleaning paces out. Two miles away on the


new Birmingham Road, the mayor lorry driver Mike Gallagher. He


only makes short journeys but is included -- increasingly frustrated


at motorists. It is �700 worth of these will, if they're all cars, it


takes ages, you cannot get 10. we have seen on our Knut is much


longer queues forming at the places where people think they can get a


cheaper tank of fuel, supermarkets. Private garages are seeing a good


trade but no different to a normal Friday. In Birmingham city centre,


a mixed picture. Some pumps drained of diesel and regular unleaded.


Those stations without supplies say they are confident they will


receive top pubs throughout the weekend.


-- pop-ups. What has business be light at the Orrell depot where you


are? This is Birmingham fuel oils, a family-run company, which has


capitalised this month on the panic at the pumps. We have had drivers


coming down from Scotland to collect tanks of diesel. Let's talk


to be Lee Cattermole from the company, what impact has had on


business? A big impact, we have bought more fuel than we normally


would, three times as much. Just to supply to more customers than what


we would normally. We have kept everyone going, all our customers,


and taken on new customers and they are happy. We are being told there


is plenty of oil out there, but people have panicked this week. Do


you have any sympathy for the motorists? Big sympathy. Fuel is


expensive and motorists have had to double up on their fuel allowance


into their cars, people are buying �20, they will have to pockets to


get �40. Your drivers are not in the United union which is in the


disputes with the government. A forecourt in Birmingham, �1.59,


what do you make of that? I do not agree with that, they will get none


of the total from their customers. We have put hours up by a a couple


of pence to cover drivers' hours. - - they will get no loyalty from


their customers. He David Cameron has today tried to call on the


union unite to cancel the strikes or together, they say they will not


happen over Easter. And do let us know the latest fuel situation


where you are and if prices are going up. Get in touch via our


Facebook page or you can email us. Thanks for joining us this evening.


Later in tonight's programme: More on the shock news that the


Aston Villa captain Stilyan Petrov has been diagnosed with acute


One of the region's big hitting politicians has entered the race to


become Birmingham's first directly elected Mayor. Liam Byrne was a


senior member of the last Labour government, where he held the job


as second in command to the Chancellor. Now he's preparing to


quit the shadow Cabinet for a new challenge in the second city.


Joanne Writtle is outside the Council House in the city centre


now. What did Mr Byrne have to say today, Joanne? It was all quite a


fanfare, he staged a carefully managed press call to declare his


intention of becoming mayor. His bid his message was that he wanted


to get the city working. His mantra, he said, was Dobbs, jobs, jobs.


The shadow Work and Pensions Secretary emerged with a former


council leader Sir Albert Bore, and his wife and children. The somewhat,


what am as fit as he threw himself forward to stand as Durman and's


Meyer, -- the somewhat carnival atmosphere as he put himself


forward to stand as Birmingham's mayor. We need the mayor to look --


unlock our potential, and get a few things sorted like getting a city


back to work. Sir Albert Bore had originally expressed an interest in


the job himself, but will now drawing surface in -- with Liam


Byrne. They state -- other people want to get the new nomination.


will also support to those who will be elected as the nomination, that


is the Labour Party. I have thrown my hat alongside that of Liam Byrne.


There is no doubt, with a political big hitter throwing his hat into


the ring, the race to become Birmingham's first elected mayor is


hotting up. But before anything can happen, a referendum on whether


people actually want a mayor in Birmingham and Coventry will be


held in May. Conservative leader of Birmingham City Council Mike Whitby


is now said to be warming to the idea, and is seen as the most


likely Tory candidate. Meanwhile the Liberal Democrat idea it -- MP


John Hemmings said this. The issue as to whether we should have these


powers concentrated into one individual is open to people to


decide. Do we want a dictator for Birmingham or a more democratic


system, which involves more people? Despite that, John Hemmings said he


may be interested in the job if there is a yes vote. When Labour


lost the general election, Liam Byrne hit headlines with his note


to the new chief secretary to the Treasury declaring there is no


money left. Ironic that if he becomes mayor, it will be in a year


whether City Council grapples to save �62 million.


There is a long road ahead before anyone get close to becoming mayor,


if at all. 11 cities are having referendums, Birmingham and City --


commentary in the Midlands, batted on May 3rd, the day of the local


elections. If people say they want a mayor, there will be a tough


nomination battle. A fight among Labour in this city with Liam Byrne,


Gisella Stuart and Sion Simon are fighting it out. It all culminates


in what is being dubbed a super Thursday on 15th November, when


people would go to the polls to elect a mayor, and also the new


Police Commissioner's. They would be replacing the current police


authorities. The funeral of a Worcestershire


schoolboy who died during a rugby match has taken place in his home


village this morning. Luke Chapman, who was 15 and attended Heybridge


High School in Hagley, died just over a week ago. This morning


pupils, teachers and members of the public lined the village High


Street to pay tribute to him as the cortege passed by.


260 jobs are to be created by a new restaurant, hotel and cinema


development in the centre of Telford in Shropshire. The �250


million Southwater Square project will include an 11-screen Cineworld


cinema, a Premier Inn Hotel and a number of well known restaurants.


Work is due to start on site in the summer and it's expected to be


completed by the end of 2014. The Culture Minister has said he


would regard it as a catastrophic failure if the valuable Wedgwood


Collection of pottery were to be sold off on his watch. Ed Vaizey


was speaking on a visit to Stoke on Trent. A legal ruling means the


museum's treasures face being sold to meet a pension deficit. Our


Staffordshire reporter Liz Copper has the details.


The Culture Minister Ed Vaizey had a guided tour of the galleries at


the Wedgwood Museum in Barlaston. He was shown some of the 10,000


treasures which make up the unique connection. He said it would be a


catastrophic failure if this precious collection was broken up.


I think it is essential they stay together, it is unarguable, this


collection cannot be broken up. It is part of the history of our


nation and part of the history of this part of the world. It cannot


be broken up and it has to stay here. To ensure it stays in stature,


members of the Wedgwood family have begun a campaign. They have


welcomed the minister's visit. Having him here is important, it


makes sure people are working hard, it puts pressure on people to work


out a solution to save this collection forever. In spite of its


troubles, the trip -- museum is still open for business. Although


these pieces are being valued, they are still on public display. There


seems to be a growing consensus, this collection should stay intact


and in Staffordshire. But exactly how much money needs to be found


and how much will be raised is still unclear. I am glad the


Minister agrees with us that the collection need to be preserved as


a whole and it should remain here in Staffordshire. What we need to


do is roll up our us leave -- sleeves, think about a fund-raising


strategy and a future plan for the that. Stage one, work towards the


collection, stage two, have a viable business models so as many


people as possible can see this is history. A campaign to save these


pieces for the nation is now gathering pace.


Schools in desperate need of repair are urging the Education Secretary


to announce whether they'll get money for rebuilding programmes.


Michael Gove had been due to make an announcement in December, but


the decision on who will get the funding has been delayed. The BBC's


Sunday Politics in the Midlands has discovered that at least forty


schools across our region applied for the funding. BBC Coventry and


Warwickshire's Political Reporter Sian Grzeszczyk's is here now to


tell us more. So what's this money they're all bidding for? It is the


replacement for Labour's all buildings calls for the future


programme which was scrapped and the coalition came to power. Then


you scream -- scheme, the priority schools building programme, is a


PFI, there is no clue from the Department of Education as to when


these schools will get an answer as to whether they will be rebuilt or


not. What sort of states are the school in? I have been to visit one


school in the Midlands, it is nearly 60 years old, there ask --


cracks in the corridors and mould the carpet. The head teachers told


us she is very frustrated. It seems to be taking a very long time and


there is not a great deal of clarity about the programme. It is


a PFI, should we be paying back public money? I do not know if that


is right for our school anyway. We need any building and we have to do


something, if that is our only option that is what we will have to


do. We have to be realistic, so surely some schools have not got a


chance of getting money. Woodland Academy in commentary are not even


allowed to apply for the pot of money, because their school is a


listed building. They are in a real dire situation. They are an academy


and outside of local authority control, so it is up to the head


teacher to find the �20 million they need to rebuild the school. He


had appointed message for the Education Secretary. We have done


everything you might have expected of us, we are not a failing school,


we have done what we think we ought to have done and they need to do


what they need to do it, provide accommodation that Mr Goh would be


happy for his child to be taught in. -- Michael Gove. We have heard from


some students from the primary school who have some strong views


on it. See that on Sunday. There was an afternoon out of


school for two dozen pupils in Birmingham today intended to show


them how the police are clamping down on drug crime. They watched as


a metal crusher destroyed cars used in drug deals, confiscated from


dealers. Giles Latcham reports. Hardly the wheels of choice for a


flash and successful drug dealer, these are the low key, day-to-day


vehicles used to collect or deliver drugs, now confiscated and turned


into a crushing victory from the police. Our street dealers are not


driving round in flash motor vehicles, they are driving round in


vehicles to blend into the community. So by taking them and


visitor -- risibly destroying them, we are sending a positive message


to the community. In this part of east Birmingham, the community told


the police that they wanted drugs to be a priority by the police. In


recent months, they have arrested 35 people as part of the drug


fighting operation. This car is about to be turned rather more


micro. It was highlighted by the students in local schools, it was


the pupils that designed the leaflet to hand around and the name


of the project. Pupils from the near by Waverley School worthier --


bear to see the school. There is no point in being a drug dealer,


because the police are going to catch you. What do you think of the


police taking up car of a drug dealer and crashing it? I think it


is right, and I think that is a good consequence. Because they are


affecting our environment. So they should be punished for that.


Discussions are taking place in school and in the community, what


they are being told in assembly and what they have seen today, they are


passing the words round to each other that drug dealing is not a


good thing to do. So far, 30 people suspected of drug dealing in his


neighbourhood have been charged and are due before the courts.


Ambassadors from more than a dozen countries visited Worcestershire


today. They were attending an event designed to showcase the best of


what the county has to sell around the world. It's in response to


calls for the UK to increase its exports to help generate growth,


jobs and rebalance the economy. Our reporter Cath Mackie was there.


It was the day the world came to whisper. I represent tie one.


Republic of Macedonia. In the air force. Canada. And hereto -- here


to charm them were local companies. We were the original English water,


let's chat about that. Worcester -- Worcester Bosch hosted the event


which was like speed-skating business. How important is that


face-to-face contact? Very, because you make that contact and it is


more humid -- human. Iconic brands were on show like the Morgan car.


Exports from Worcestershire on the increase and this event is to


showcase what the the area has to offer. The Chancellor wants to


double exports by one trillion pounds by the end of the decade,


although manufactures have asked him for more help to do that.


Getting foreign companies to look beyond London is seen as a start.


The way we will and our way out of the current economic situation is


by growth in international trade, - When you work in London, you get


the impression that the economy of this country is the finance


industry. It is really heartening to see that there is also


production going on. And deals are being done. We just got a very nice


order from China, it is nice to be reversing the trend of imports from


China, now we are exporting. There are many who are hoping that they


can persuade the world that Worcestershire is the place to do


business. Still to come in tonight's


programme: A closer look at life under Spaghetti Junction, and it's


all in the name of art. And it seems that all good things


must come to an end and after a beautiful and exceptionally warm


week, we see a return to cooler and cloudier conditions this weekend.


I'll have all the details for you Onto sport now and we start with


some shock news from world of football. Dan's here with the


details. Yes, desperately sad news from


Aston Villa, that their captain Stiliyan Petrov has been diagnosed


with acute leukaemia. The 32-year- old who joined Villa in 2006 was


sent for tests after developing a fever during last weekend's game at


Arsenal. But he was told at lunchtime today that he had


leukaemia and has already travelled to London to begin his treatment.


It has been a strange day. I was at the manager Alex McLeish's


news conference at lunchtime and at that point he thought Petrov was


suffering with a virus. An hour later though the club released a


statement confirming their captain had leukaemia. He will get the best


medical attention possible. I spoke to him about half an hour ago, he


is typical Stan, defined, but I think he is concerned about how


will it has affected his loved one. What have the fans been saying?


A mixture of shock and surprise. A big game but everyone is talking


about Stilyan Petrov. I am sorry for his family, is seen so there,


best of luck to him. It is devastating, he has been great for


the club. I just pray he did recovers from this, it is shocking


news, I did not realise until you just told me. How important has he


been? Massive, club captain, you cannot get bigger than that, we


want him back. And we've also spoken to the former Wolves


midfielder Geoff Thomas who you may remember successfully recovered


after being diagnosed with leukaemia in 2003. He says, it just


takes you back to when you got diagnosed, you think you have a


virus. But he said that treatment in this country is excellent.


can say is that there are some tremendous people in this country


now, they are leaders in the field in rheumatology and blood cancers.


Or you can do is put your life in the hands of the professionals, and


what I can say, there are so many good people who will be working


hard to make sure he get on the road of recovery. We hope he gets


better soon, that is the important thing.


Worcester rugby club's Premiership status could be assured this


evening. If Worcester can win at Leicester, or if Newcastle fail to


beat Sale, then they're guaranteed their place in the top tier of


English rugby next season. But coach Richard Hill hasn't given up


on a top seven finish and that could give them a place in next


season's European cup. It was not a reality a while ago, but we have


had such a big run since Christmas, bigger wins over Saracens, and a


loss as well, suddenly it becomes a possibility. The players get


excited because Heineken Cup football was not on the radar, but


it is a possibility this year. there'll be full match commentary


on the Warriors match against Leicester on BBC Hereford and


Worcester from 7:45pm tonight. Our thoughts are very much with


Stilyan Petrov and his family tonight.


And the fans from all clubs across the West Midlands.


Art lovers are being told lie back and think of Brum in a slightly


bizarre exhibition to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of Spaghetti


Junction. It's all part of an art project called Track which forms


part of the city's free Fierce Arts Festival. Ben Sidwell's been


It is one of the most famous road junctions in Europe. Every day, one


of -- almost 250,000 vehicles pass through here, many people never


giving a second thought of what is underneath. This weekend that will


change in the name of art. It is kind of like how we might all


imagine an out-of-body experience. You are on your back, drifting


along. Although it is only 100 metres or so, it feels much longer,


and it is almost like being in a dream. Track is the creation of


artist Graham Miller. His idea is to take people on a journey where


their visual perspective is dramatically changed. I know what


you are thinking, what does Spaghetti Junction actually look


like the other way around? Why As an artist, I thought one of the


things you can do it is a frame things again that already exist. So


Track is a way of doing that. It throws the landscape through 90


degrees. You have got a radically different view of your world lying


on your back. So, Graham, why on earth spaghetti Junction? I have


been here underneath before, and I think it is an extraordinary under


Bella. Four -- underbelly. It is like an accidental Cathedral, and I


like it. Track will be running from tomorrow between 11pm -- 11am and


5pm, and it is absolutely free. Fact is sometimes stranger than


fiction! Let's have a look at the weather.


It is looking cooler for this weekend. We have a lot of cloud


behind us, but this week we have had some beautiful weather. Highs


of 21 Celsius. For this weekend, it is turning a lot cooler. We have


seen 12 -- we will C-class Celsius as a maximum and a lot more cloud


around. -- we will seek 12 Celsius. Tonight, we are starting under


clear skies, so we will have a few patches of mist and fog forming


before the crowd filters in overnight. Some bits and pieces of


drizzle by the early hours of tomorrow morning. For tomorrow, we


are starting off on a cloudy night, -- cloudy note, and it will stick


with us for most of the day and it will feel cooler than it has been


through the week. The air is coming from a northerly direction, and a


weather front is introducing more cloud. I loved -- a rather grey,


damp start. Patchy bits and pieces of drizzle, but it will dry up and


we will see a bit of brighter weather edging in from the north by


the end of the day. For winds will be light. Overnight on Saturday,


the skies clearing, the crowd leaves us and the temperatures will


fall very quickly, and much call the night to come. A touch of


ground frost. The Sunday -- for Sunday, still under high pressure,


After a week of queues on the forecourt, petrol prices from the -


- reached record levels, nearly �1.60 per litre at one station.


We asked through your comments, on Facebook, it said massive queues at


all my local stations, petrels going to �1.43.


Queues around Northfield in Birmingham, no fuel and prices up


to -- by a few pence per litre. Ordinary unleaded is now �1.48 in


Bidford-on-Avon. Profiteering in a crisis.


My husband was in a garage yesterday and was told by the


cashier that the owner had put up a fully or by five pence per litre.


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