22/10/2013 Midlands Today


22/10/2013

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pretty soggy. Thank you. That is all from the BBC. We

:00:00.:00:00.

Hello, and welcome to Midlands Today. The headlines tonight: We

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must all save, even on the lowest incomes, to fight off the spiralling

:00:12.:00:15.

problem of debt, according to a new report.

:00:16.:00:22.

I wasn't sleeping or eating, I was worried the bailiffs would come to

:00:23.:00:27.

the door. I wasn't making payments. A University of Birmingham finance

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expert who helped write the report explains what can be done to make it

:00:31.:00:33.

happen. Also tonight: As supporters protest

:00:34.:00:35.

over troubled Coventry City, the MP Bob Ainsworth has accused the club

:00:36.:00:39.

owners of an attempted land grab of the Ricoh Arena.

:00:40.:00:45.

Does the club need to own its stadium? It needs to pay for it.

:00:46.:00:49.

Business leaders travel to Westminster for Birmingham Day, to

:00:50.:00:51.

show politicians what the second city has to offer.

:00:52.:00:55.

Big break for the local band chosen by jazz artist Jamie Cullum to

:00:56.:00:57.

support him at the Birmingham Symphony Hall.

:00:58.:01:00.

And, with almost back`to`back rain or showers this week, it's a wonder

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we've got any dry weather at all, but we have. Get all the details in

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the forecast later. Good evening.

:01:07.:01:21.

"The debt problem in this country is spiralling out of control," that's

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the view of the Bishop of Birmingham. He's part of a

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University of Birmingham policy commission who're launching a report

:01:28.:01:31.

tonight looking at savings and debt. They're recommending: Anyone

:01:32.:01:37.

starting a new job is automatically enrolled into a savings account.

:01:38.:01:40.

Increased funding for credit unions. Tougher regulation of payday

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lending. Ben Godfrey has been finding out why

:01:44.:01:47.

the commission feel radical changes are needed.

:01:48.:01:50.

Michaela Hamer lost control of her debts, after signing up to four

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payday loan firms, some charging over 1,000% interest. The single

:01:54.:01:59.

mother from Birmingham, who has a full`time job with the NHS, faced

:02:00.:02:06.

eviction. I was worried the bailiffs were

:02:07.:02:10.

coming to the door. I wasn't making payments. I woke up thinking my home

:02:11.:02:16.

was at risk. Payday lenders "prey on the most

:02:17.:02:19.

vulnerable", so says the Bishop of Birmingham. He's chaired a

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commission to address wealth inequality. They want ministers to

:02:22.:02:25.

create a new organisation helping low`income families to save,

:02:26.:02:33.

reducing a reliance on credit. It is a change of mind set. People

:02:34.:02:40.

enjoy shopping, the wonderful things in our society. But not at the cost

:02:41.:02:44.

of going into unmanageable debt. It's not the first time senior

:02:45.:02:48.

clergy have entered this debate. The Archbishop of Canterbury told the

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online lender Wonga that the Church of England would try to force them

:02:52.:02:54.

out of business, by helping credit unions compete with it, only to be

:02:55.:02:57.

left "embarrassed", after it emerged the Church was indirectly investing

:02:58.:03:03.

in the firm. The church wants to get involved in

:03:04.:03:08.

solving the dysfunction of the global economy because it affects

:03:09.:03:12.

the lives of ordinary people. Credit unions are uniting in

:03:13.:03:15.

Birmingham. A not`for`profit loan shop has appeared in the city

:03:16.:03:18.

centre. Paid for by cash recovered from illegal money lenders.

:03:19.:03:27.

The cabin has been placed here because within a 100 metres radius

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there are no less than 14 high cost lenders. What interest do you

:03:33.:03:38.

charge? A maximum interest rate is 26% set by regulation.

:03:39.:03:42.

We have 100 people a week coming in, gaining a loan or taking some

:03:43.:03:45.

good advice. Michaela Hamer's now back in the

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black, after joining a credit union. I managed to save so much money out

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of my wages. It is a fee I can afford and I will not miss.

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Clearly, not all can save for that rainy day. And a new savings body

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could face considerable opposition, as charitable trusts, UK trade

:04:03.:04:05.

investment, and even savers, may be asked to fund it.

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Joining us now from Westminster is one of the report's authors, Dr Paul

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Cox, Senior Lecturer of Finance at University of Birmingham.

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Good evening, Dr Cox. These ideas sound excellent in principle. What

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chance any of them will be adopted? I sincerely hope so. There was no

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certainty about these things but with energy and enthusiasm, we can

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make good progress. I have had fantastic responses from trade

:04:38.:04:42.

groups, such as the TUC, which is right behind the idea.

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We have lost the ability to save these days, it will take a culture

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change. It will. The automatic enrolment of

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pensions has already got as saving. We are in a savings mindset. One

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problem is we have been left alone so the industry can charge what it

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likes. Our case study is of a single mum

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who as a decent salary but things are so tight she can't even think of

:05:12.:05:16.

saving, she had to borrow. That is one of the great problems.

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We're not suggesting you should save every month of your life. There are

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points in your lifestyle where savings come into its own. When it

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is right, it is the right thing to do.

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Talking about companies matching the savings. Well that appeal to

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companies when they are already beleaguered?

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The idea of matched savings can go a long way. It helps with pensions.

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One of the inspirations of the report is we should automatically

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enrolled individuals into bank accounts and have government or

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companies making a small contribution as we saved to help us

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build small pots. Dr Cox from the University of

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Birmingham, thank you. We asked for your comments on this.

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Julie wrote on our Facebook page: "I have just got out of debt after six

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years. I have started to save a bit. But,

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with the price of electricity and gas going up, and food, I don't

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think my little bit of savings will last very long."

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Paul suggests: "Teach money management and basic skills on

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borrowing and its true cost in school."

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Paulette: "Be wise and pay off debts that are growing due to interest

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charges, before saving money that will not grow."

:06:29.:06:32.

Steve says: " A good start would be to ban payday loan companies from

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high streets, and to limit the amount of interest charged."

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Eve posted a comment. She says: "Can't think of any initiative that

:06:40.:06:42.

will help poor people save, without also helping the super`rich to hoard

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even more unnecessary wealth. More and more money being tied up in

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savings won't be great for the economy."

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Coming up later in the programme: Still no decision on extending the

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badger cull in Gloucestershire, as opponents threaten legal action.

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The future of Coventry City Football Club was back on the agenda at the

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city council, and also in Parliament today. The Labour MP Bob Ainsworth

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is urging the government to bring in an independent liquidator, to

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investigate the financial crisis at the club. He told the Commons that

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what was happening was "outrageous and unforgivable." Ian Winter

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reports. Two months ago, the pitch was

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perfect but the sky blues had flown the nest. The Ricoh Arena is no

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longer the home of Coventry City Football Club and the fans are

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furious. Today, yet another protest group of angry supporters gathered

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outside the Council house to voice their desire to get the club back.

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The purpose of today is to let Coventry City Council note the

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people of Coventry want their club back in the city and this stadium.

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There is a lot of taxpayers money tied up in the Ricoh Arena. A ?14

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million bailout. Someone has to pay it back. If nobody is in the

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stadium, who will pay? Beneath this watchful gaze of historical

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leaders, councillors found no mention of the football club on

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today's agenda. Speculation was rife that the council leader had

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something important to stay on a subject close to the hearts of many

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taxpayers. But the burning question remains. Would the city council

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sanctioned the sale of the Ricoh Arena while Sisu remain owners of

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the football club? When the time came, and Lucas was crystal clear.

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`` Ann Lucas. A future being discussed at

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Westminster this afternoon in a debate led by Bob Ainsworth, the

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Labour MP for Coventry North East. Figures like ?7 million floated by

:09:06.:09:15.

Sisu's fans, for a stadium that cost over ?100 million. But to float

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derisory figures like that is an indication there is an attempt at a

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killing at the taxpayers's expense. Since I'm here if you'd like to see

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an end to this crisis. But fans, do not hold your breath.

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Ian's outside the Ricoh Arena for us now. Ian, is the future of Coventry

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City any clearer tonight? I'm afraid not really. I have heard

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a lot of words spoken, angry and frustrated, from supporters. Hopeful

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words from councillors, cautious words from that Coventry MP. None of

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these words have been directed in any meaningful dialogue with the

:09:59.:10:01.

owners of the football club. That is at the heart of the matter. Until

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all the interested parties get together to discuss and thrash out a

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deal, there is no hope of Coventry City returning to play their home

:10:12.:10:16.

games at the Ricoh Arena in the foreseeable future. Tonight, the

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football club are playing at home at Northampton against Leyton Orient.

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But whether the sky blues will ever return to play here remains a

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question we are nowhere near answering again tonight.

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BBC Coventry and Warwickshire will be discussing the future of the

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Ricoh Arena on the Shane O'Connor at Breakfast show, tomorrow morning

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from seven o'clock. On the eve of a Home Affairs Select

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Committee called to investigate the so called Plebgate affair, the

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Police and Crime Commissioner for Warwickshire has accused Andrew

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Mitchell's friends of 'baying for blood'. Ron Ball says the Sutton

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Coldfield MP and his friends should accept an apology by three fficers

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caught up in the row. Ron Ball is with me now. You say Andrew

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Mitchell's "baying for blood". Hardly surprising after the year

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he's had? It is a really difficult situation

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we need to get out of. My trade union background has shown me

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situations but this before. They get resolved when people make some sort

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of move, there is an element of goodwill. What the officers did was

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to actually offer an apology to the people, but not apologised to Andrew

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Mitchell. It seemed a grudging apology, talking about poor

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judgement. This situation is a really major pressure situation.

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They could have easily hunkered down and said nothing. What they have

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done is quite courageous. It is a helpful step. You must understand

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the distress his family have been through, he has lost a key job in

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government, it has ruined his career at this moment. His career is in the

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hands of the Prime Minister. It has been a year and a half. I am not...

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There are two incidences, the one in London which is nothing to do with

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me. It appears it was made up to discredit him. I cannot comment on

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that, there are cases possibly before the court coming up. As far

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as this instance is concerned which is why I am involved, and I

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shouldn't be involved at all, in that the IPCC were called in to

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investigate. I should be able as a commissioner to trust them to do a

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professional investigation. And I should have a clean outcome at this

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point. Will this go any further with a resolution? I do not know, I

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sincerely hope so. I am involved in the secondary bit, Sutton Coldfield

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bit. My hope is that we do make some progress tomorrow, and we can start

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moving on from here. The officers, in my view, took a useful first step

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on that and I am rather disappointed that it was rubbished. It was brave

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of them and it should be acknowledged.

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Police in Rugby investigating the unexplained death of a woman in the

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town last week are trying to find her handbag and mobile phone.

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39`year`old Patricia Dornan was found near the junction of James

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Street and Albert Street on Thursday morning. Detectives want to speak to

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anyone who may have seen her on Wednesday.

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The Home Secretary Teresa May has praised communities in the West

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Midlands for their courage, following the conviction of a man

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for murder and terrorism offences at mosques. Teresa May, who visited the

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affected mosque in Tipton last month, described the case as highly

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distressing, and paid tribute to the work of West Midlands Police. Pavlo

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Lapshyn's due to be sentenced on Friday, after he admitted killing

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Mohammed Saleem, and planting home`made bombs outside mosques in

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Walsall, Wolverhampton and Tipton. The owners of Birmingham City

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Football Club have denied speculation that a takeover of the

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club is close to being finalised. In a statement, the directors of

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Birmingham International Holdings Limited say no written agreement has

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been made or signed. Recent reports in the media have suggested the

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Birmingham`based businessman Giani Paladini is closing in on a deal to

:14:15.:14:16.

take over at Blues. Business leaders, students and

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artists have travelled to Westminster for Birmingham Day, to

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show politicians what the second city has to offer. It's been

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organised by Edgbaston MP Gisela Stuart who says she wants to show

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Parliament a side of Birmingham they may not know. BBC WM's political

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reporter Susana Mendonca has spent the day there.

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Susana, what's been happening? It was about raising Birmingham's

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profile at Westminster, showing politicians that Birmingham is the

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second city and why it deserves that title.

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It's not the kind of music you might expect to hear in parliament, but

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look around, a little bit of Birmingham has taken over. The

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jewellery Quarter. The home of chocolate. A fuel of the things

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Brummies pride themselves on. All in one room at Westminster. Giving

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politicians a taste of Birmingham is what this event is about. The real

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question is whether this will make a difference. A number of people have

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said, I had no idea about the jewellery, about the amazing Asian

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dress. People will be more aware of what Birmingham has too far.

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Politically, tomorrow, I have a ten minute rule Bill to talk about the

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funding of our cities. They are the engine of economic recovery of the

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nation. Birmingham has challenges, the local authority faces huge

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spending cuts and has come under intense criticism the failures on

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child protection. With 40% of the population under the age of 25, this

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MP was keen to put young people at the centre. These children took the

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day off to tell MPs by learning how to make curry is preparing them for

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life. We have been telling them about preparing students with

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academic skills, skills for the workplace. Outside, some listeners

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heard a broadcast from College Green and felt the day should have been

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about the Black Country. Over the next 12 months, I will be

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negotiating with all of the authorities in the West Midlands to

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make this happen so more resources and power is available locally. It

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is the right kind of mood music, but how will it play out?

:16:59.:17:06.

If nothing else, today got them talking about Birmingham again and

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about the wider West Midlands. This is our top story tonight: We

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must all save, even on the lowest incomes, to fight off the spiralling

:17:19.:17:22.

problem of debt, according to a new report from the University of

:17:23.:17:23.

Birmingham. Your detailed weather forecast to

:17:24.:17:25.

come shortly from Shefali. Also in tonight's programme: Tourism

:17:26.:17:30.

may be worth more than half a billion pounds in south

:17:31.:17:32.

Warwickshire, but they still want more visitors, as Shakespeare's

:17:33.:17:35.

birth place drops out of the tourism top 20.

:17:36.:17:38.

And, a night to remember for the local band who supported

:17:39.:17:40.

international jazz star Jamie Cullum at the Symphony Hall in Birmingham.

:17:41.:17:46.

There's still no agreement tonight on whether or not to carry on the

:17:47.:17:52.

badger cull in Gloucestershire. The six`week cull fell well short of

:17:53.:17:55.

killing the target number of badgers it was set. Now, those who oppose

:17:56.:17:59.

the cull are threatening legal action if the cull's extended. But

:18:00.:18:03.

would extending the cull help? Or should culling be abandoned for this

:18:04.:18:05.

year? Our rural affairs correspondent David Gregory`Kumar is

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here. David, will new research help?

:18:11.:18:16.

New research goes some way to explaining why the effects of

:18:17.:18:19.

culling badgers can be so unpredictable. This is family life

:18:20.:18:23.

for 50 Gloucestershire badgers. Radio`tagged and tracked as part of

:18:24.:18:29.

a new study. Red splodges are TB`infected badgers, the blues

:18:30.:18:33.

uninfected. This research shows the infected badgers occupy a unique

:18:34.:18:36.

position. They are isolated from the other family groups. So they don't

:18:37.:18:41.

spread TB inside these groups, but they can spread the disease between

:18:42.:18:44.

them. Culling shatters these links, and means infected badgers wander

:18:45.:18:48.

off and spread disease. This might explain the big problem facing the

:18:49.:18:51.

Gloucestershire cull zone. We know they've culled around 30% of

:18:52.:18:54.

badgers. But that's not enough, and it could make the problem of TB in

:18:55.:18:58.

cattle worse. Especially on the edges of the cull zone. Because

:18:59.:19:01.

you've shattered that network of badgers, and infected animals are

:19:02.:19:04.

wandering about spreading TB. So the company running the cull wants more

:19:05.:19:08.

time to try and get that total up to 70%, the point where you start to

:19:09.:19:12.

have a positive impact on the disease.

:19:13.:19:14.

But we also know that increasing the length of a cull can also increase

:19:15.:19:18.

the risk of spreading TB. It's a catch`22. And this may well explain

:19:19.:19:22.

why it's taking so long to reach a decision on what to do. And if there

:19:23.:19:26.

is an extension, opponents say that is a decision ripe for a new legal

:19:27.:19:32.

challenge. It is against the advice that Defra

:19:33.:19:38.

gave to itself, that it should be a maximum of six weeks. If they go

:19:39.:19:43.

against that, clearly they are not following their own prescription and

:19:44.:19:47.

terms of reference. That is something that is very actionable.

:19:48.:19:51.

We should be going either for a judicial review, or for an

:19:52.:19:53.

injunction. In the meantime, Gloucestershire

:19:54.:19:59.

Police have confirmed to us today that, since the cull licence has

:20:00.:20:03.

finished, and an extension has not been granted, killing badgers in the

:20:04.:20:06.

cull zone is currently just as illegal as killing them outside it.

:20:07.:20:08.

Gloucestershire remains in limbo. Stonehenge, Chester Zoo and the

:20:09.:20:13.

Tower of London, all places in the top 20 UK visitor attractions. But

:20:14.:20:17.

conspicuous by its absence in the top flight is anything from here in

:20:18.:20:20.

the Heart of England, and it's been like that for a few years. But the

:20:21.:20:24.

leaders of a new tourism promotion group launched today in Stratford

:20:25.:20:27.

hope to turn that around. Sarah Falkland reports.

:20:28.:20:29.

You may recognise this as a popular tourist destination. But do you know

:20:30.:20:36.

where this is? Less than half a mile away from Warwick Castle, they're

:20:37.:20:39.

Hill Close Gardens, one of only four surviving examples of Victorian

:20:40.:20:42.

hedgerow gardens, places where tradespeople like porkpie maker

:20:43.:20:44.

Benjamin Chadband would escape the hustle and bustle of the town.

:20:45.:20:56.

Each gate of each plot tells you about the history of the family that

:20:57.:21:02.

had this site originally. They came down here, they might picnic, they

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might garden, they might play with their children. That's what we want

:21:07.:21:10.

to replicate. The gardens may have been something

:21:11.:21:14.

of a secret. Not for much longer. They've just joined Shakespeare's

:21:15.:21:17.

England. It's a new tourism body hoping to sell the region with

:21:18.:21:20.

themed breaks for families, country lovers, history lovers and, well,

:21:21.:21:25.

just lovers. What the website does wonderfully is

:21:26.:21:30.

to help a couple in London who want to come away for a weekend, find a

:21:31.:21:35.

B in Warwick, go to Leamington spa, or come to these gardens.

:21:36.:21:38.

It's a private`public sector partnership, and the first tourism

:21:39.:21:41.

body for this area in over three years.

:21:42.:21:43.

Tourism brings some ?550 million to this area every year. But, if that's

:21:44.:21:47.

to increase, they've got to think of ways of making people stay for

:21:48.:21:50.

longer. No mean feat when hear how tight their schedules are.

:21:51.:22:01.

If we went to London two days ago, we are here until tomorrow. An hour

:22:02.:22:06.

and a half in Stratford, then we get back on the bus to London this

:22:07.:22:07.

afternoon. Even more well`known attractions

:22:08.:22:10.

acknowledge that there's a lot to play for. We attract about 800,000

:22:11.:22:16.

people every year but that's only 20% of the people who come to the

:22:17.:22:23.

city. Even with an established and successful organisation, there's

:22:24.:22:28.

more work to be done. And if the tourism sector here in South

:22:29.:22:31.

Warwickshire can stay buoyant, it's good news for the 13,000 people who

:22:32.:22:32.

are employed in it. The Symphony Hall in Birmingham is

:22:33.:22:41.

acknowledged as one of the best live venues in the world. So imagine

:22:42.:22:44.

being a member of an unsigned band, getting an email from the

:22:45.:22:47.

multi`million selling artist Jamie Cullum asking you to play there and

:22:48.:22:50.

support him. That's just what happened to one wide`eyed group from

:22:51.:22:53.

the Midlands, and Ben Sidwell was there to see how it all went.

:22:54.:22:58.

MUSIC. There's no tour bus and no group of

:22:59.:23:04.

roadies. Unsigned Birmingham band Midnight Bonfires have to do

:23:05.:23:05.

everything themselves. The group are used to playing to

:23:06.:23:14.

just a handful of people, but tonight is very different. In just a

:23:15.:23:17.

few hours, they'll be walking onto the stage of the city's Symphony

:23:18.:23:21.

Hall, in front of a sell`out crowd of 2,000 people.

:23:22.:23:29.

It means everything, really. It is a big chance to impress and lots of

:23:30.:23:31.

people. At the venue, backstage, and with

:23:32.:23:34.

the gear unloaded, the enormity of what's ahead is beginning to sink

:23:35.:23:38.

in. We can't compare it to anything else

:23:39.:23:42.

we have ever done. It is difficult to know how to feel.

:23:43.:23:45.

The opportunity to play here came thanks to BBC Introducing which

:23:46.:23:48.

supports unsigned bands across the country, giving them a chance to be

:23:49.:23:53.

heard on radio. We have music that we think everyone

:23:54.:23:58.

wants to hear. We want to get out there. We will do our best.

:23:59.:24:05.

Of course, most of the crowd are here to see headliner Jamie Cullum.

:24:06.:24:10.

He listened to hundreds of unsigned bands on the BBC Introducing

:24:11.:24:13.

website, before hand`picking the artists he wanted to support him on

:24:14.:24:22.

tour. I got to log onto the site and

:24:23.:24:26.

listen to these amazing bands. And I wanted more people to hear them,

:24:27.:24:30.

it's as simple as that. While the band's nerves grow in

:24:31.:24:33.

their dressing room, outside, the crowd are arriving and the hall is

:24:34.:24:36.

filling fast. And, before they know it, the moment

:24:37.:24:38.

has arrived. The crowd were lovely, really nice,

:24:39.:24:50.

really lovely. 30 minutes later, and it's all over,

:24:51.:24:54.

but it's given the band a taste of what could be. Oh, yes. What will

:24:55.:25:03.

be. Hopefully, hopefully. Maybe. Come and see us.

:25:04.:25:06.

When, and if, Midnight Bonfires ever get the chance to play the Symphony

:25:07.:25:10.

Hall again remains to be seen. But one thing's for sure, they'll never

:25:11.:25:12.

forget tonight. Another rain`sodden day. I got

:25:13.:25:22.

drenched again this morning. More of the same, Shefali?

:25:23.:25:28.

There is much more of the same to come. For those of you who do not

:25:29.:25:32.

want to be caught out by the rain, I thought it would be worth pointing

:25:33.:25:36.

out the drier periods which will be tomorrow night and most of Thursday.

:25:37.:25:42.

Otherwise, a pretty wet and windy picture. As much rain as we have

:25:43.:25:46.

seen over the past 48 hours which has been over one inch of rain.

:25:47.:25:57.

At the moment, it is relatively quiet but we are looking at a batch

:25:58.:26:02.

of showers brewing to the south. A band of heavy and disorderly showers

:26:03.:26:06.

feeding into night and to the north. A wet and windy night, some

:26:07.:26:11.

showers could produce 20 millimetres of rain in a short period of time,

:26:12.:26:18.

within an hour, containing hail and under. Temperatures are still mild,

:26:19.:26:23.

down to 12 Celsius. More showers battling through the region

:26:24.:26:28.

tomorrow. There will be a switch in wind direction which will kill most

:26:29.:26:33.

of those showers. By the afternoon, it is looking much drier and quite

:26:34.:26:39.

sunny as well. In the morning, those showers could be heavy in a short

:26:40.:26:44.

space of time. Temperatures will reach 15 Celsius. Not as mild as

:26:45.:26:54.

today. A breeze to content with. Then, a ridge of high pressure

:26:55.:26:58.

building tomorrow evening, which will kill all of the activity

:26:59.:27:04.

completely and clear the skies. Some mist and fog patches. Cold enough in

:27:05.:27:09.

rural areas for a touch of grass frost. In urban areas, a minimum of

:27:10.:27:14.

six Celsius. This ridge of high pressure will keep things dry on

:27:15.:27:20.

Thursday, but we have this area of low pressure and heavy rain on

:27:21.:27:22.

Thursday evening. Tonight's headlines from the BBC:

:27:23.:27:27.

Former Prime Minister John Major adds his voice to the row over

:27:28.:27:30.

energy prices, branding the latest price hikes unjustifiable.

:27:31.:27:33.

We must all save, even on the lowest incomes, to fight off the spiralling

:27:34.:27:37.

problem of debt, according to a new report.

:27:38.:27:39.

That was the Midlands Today. I'll be back at ten o'clock, and speaking

:27:40.:27:42.

live to the Birmingham MP Gisela Stuart to find out whether her

:27:43.:27:45.

Birmingham Day at Westminster really will raise the city's profile.

:27:46.:27:47.

Have a great

:27:48.:27:48.

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