12/12/2013 Midlands Today


12/12/2013

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Hello and welcome to Midlands Today. The headlines tonight: Rated

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inadequate for four years. Now a pledge from Birmingham City

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Council to transform Children's Services. We still has some urgent

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issues. That is why this review is clear. We need to continue to focus

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on the safety of children. But we hear from one social worker who tell

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us morale is at rock bottom. Also tonight.

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Tackling extremists: a government minister in talks at a city mosque.

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This was actions were taken forward to prevent terrorism and to ensure

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that mosques and other fave institutions have that sense of

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security. 20,000 jobs in the offing as

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development plans get the go`ahead in Coventry, Warwickshire and the

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Black Country. Football as you've never seen it

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before: no running ` it's walking pace for the over 55s.

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And it's been calm up until now but that's all changing over the weekend

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` in fact, even sooner then that. Hear all about it in the forecast

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later. Good evening. There's a new plan

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tonight to transform Birmingham's much criticised Children's Services

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and better protect youngsters at risk. A series of child deaths and

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damning reports have seen the department labelled a failure and

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placed in "special measures" by the Government. The council says it's

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going to spend more money filling vacancies among social workers and

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improving the way it works with others safeguarding children. But,

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in a rare interview, a front line child protection officer's told us

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the service is in a mess and change can't come quickly enough. Giles

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Latcham reports. Short lives, long term failure.

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Birmingham's children services have been rated inadequate for years `

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the deaths of vulnerable children stand sad testament to a city's

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shame. For three`and`a`half years James has pounded the inner city

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beat trying to protect the young and at risk, waving goodbye to

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colleagues who've had enough. I think we are half staffed at the

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moment. It varies from team to team. Some team, one team is only fully

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staffed. I know other parts whether four staff. There are huge vacancy

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rates. It is very difficult. It may get worse. And for Children's

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Services as a whole it's been a bruising few months. In October a

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damning report identified a "significant" number of chances

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missed to prevent the death of two`year`old Keanu Williams, beaten

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to death by his mother ` Birmingham's latest failure to

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protect a vulnerable child. Later that month the head of the education

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watchdog Ofsted, Sir Michael Wilshaw, branded Birmingham's

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Children Services a "national disgrace". In November the

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Children's Minister, Edward Timpson, wrote to the council's leader saying

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he'd ordered an independent review of the council's plans to improve

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Children's Services. The council's new plan promises an extra ?10

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million to recruit and retain experienced social workers and

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closer co`operation with health professionals, teachers and the

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voluntary sector. You can see that children cannot be guaranteed their

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safety in this city. We set have some certain issues. That is why

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this review is very clear. We need to continue to focus on the safety

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of children and this is part of how other people in the future go about

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it. For some on the front line though this is the fourth or fifth

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attempt they've seen to overhaul the service. The staff are tired and

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fatigued. We are now very jaded. James chooses to stay and accepts

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there is no quick fix. Nor though is there any more room for failure.

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Earlier I spoke to Councillor Brigid Jones, the councillor responsible

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for children's care and family services in Birmingham. I started by

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asking her Why should we believe this latest relaunch of children's

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services will work? There are three key things at a difference. In the

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past we have underfunded children's services in the city. What we are

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proposing is a budding sustained an extra investment to bring up to the

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level it should be. In the past we have done things on our own. We have

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not bought our partners along with those. What's different is we are

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going to have our partners rivers around the table making things

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better. The third thing is that historically we have done things on

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short`term plans. We have leapt from short`term plans to restructure, new

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leader to new leader. What we are doing now is looking for stability.

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We will stabilise things so we can have sustained improvement going

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forward, looking into the future. You talked about stabilising. There

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is one team appeared about which should have 24 people in there, but

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there are only four. How can that be? We are very short staffed at the

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moment. That is rooted problem. Until you get more great social

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workers into Birmingham it'll be hard to get improvement going. The

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view we have, the is high. `` view. How you get people in? We are

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working to change our reputation. We have had the reputation for a long

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time. That has not been held by the national coverage we have had, some

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the Commons have been put out there. We want people to realise our

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Birmingham is changing. We are looking to the future. Burnham

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should be a place to have on your CV. We are the biggest place in the

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country `` Birmingham. There are challenges here which you won't find

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anywhere else. You can develop your career here. We have been in a bad

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place a long time, but that is changing. We want people about their

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attitude to improve, and who want to make a difference.

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Coming up later in the programme: We're in Redditch where campaigners

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are fighting to protect front line services at the town's hospital.

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A 33`year`old man from Dudley's being questioned by police this

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evening on suspicion of terrorism offences. The West Midlands Counter

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Terrorism Unit arrested him at his home this morning on suspicion of

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distributing an ideological publication. The arrest came as the

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Government's Security Minister visited a Birmingham mosque for

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talks on tackling extremism. Here's our special correspondent Peter

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Wilson. A meeting about tackling extremism.

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But this was a collection of all the faiths, held in a mosque, but

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attended by a bishop and a Rabbi. This was about the freedom to

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practise ones faith without fear. The me, it was good to learn about

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Muslim fears for their security, because we in the Jewish community

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are warned. The community building on peace, and we condemn violence of

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all kinds. This summer tested that unity to breaking point but,

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Birmingham's togetherness held. One man, 82``year`old Mohammed Saleem

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was stabbed killed simply because he was a muslim. The murderer ukrainian

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student Pavlo Lapshyn also planted three bombs outside mosques to

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spread hate and fear. I was very struck by that strong sense of

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community, and how by continuing to maintain that, we can be that much

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stronger in confronting those who would seek to divide and how we

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stand together in confronting those who might seek to use extremism in

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that way. The government says the biggest security, some Al`Qaeda

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style groups. Many other communities who gathered in Birmingham today say

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that what concerns them is extremism from the far right. It is not just

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Al`Qaeda inspired which takes at the time of us. We are also doing work

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around the extreme right wing, around extreme rights and

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environmental rights. We have a broad sphere of work, but not all of

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it is Al`Qaeda. The biggest of the nail bombs was planted at the Tipton

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Mosque. No one died due to a delay in prayer times but the explosion

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continues to reverberate. The community itself is more vigilant

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since then. Initially, the mosque was opened doors, and people coming

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when they wanted. Now we have to be a bit more vigilant, and the

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community itself is vigilant. Todays meeting was held in a Mosque which

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once had been a piano making factory. It is a place of prayer,

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charity and hope for the future. The mosque plays a particular role,

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which is to enforce ideas of citizenship and belonging, and

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letting people feel they are part of the fabric of British society. Those

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things which we tried to reaffirm and address whether we are. There

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were discussion about what can be done to deal with those who preach

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hate but today was about those who preach faith unity.

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Two out of three Midlands Air Ambulance helicopters remain

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grounded this evening over safety concerns. It follows a fault that

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was discovered yesterday on an EC`135 helicopter operated by Bond

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Air Services for the North West Air Ambulance. It's the same model which

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crashed onto a bar in Glasgow, killing nine people.

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New forensic tests could provide a breakthrough in the 22`year

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investigation into the disappearance of Nicola Payne. The young mother,

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who was 18, was last seen in the Henley Green area of Coventry in

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December 1991. A number of items recovered during the police inquiry

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have been sent for up to date forensic testing. Her parents, John

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and Marilyn Payne, said they were waiting for test results and hoping

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for closure at last. A ?48 million biomass plant which

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will use waste wood to generate electricity is to be built in

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Birmingham. It's the first of its kind in the UK and it'll be able to

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power 17,000 homes a year. The project ` in Tyseley ` will create a

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100 construction jobs and is due to be completed in 2016.

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Plans to deliver more than 20,000 jobs in the West Midlands over the

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next decade have won approval today from Government ministers. In

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Coventry and Warwickshire, an investment of ?90m is expected to

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create more than 15,000 new jobs by 2025. Nearly 9,000 of them will be

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in the advanced manufacturing and engineering sector. And in the Black

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Country, more than 5,000 jobs and 1,500 apprenticeships could be

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created over the next four years, as private investment worth ?130m is

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pumped into Wolverhampton, Walsall, Dudley and Sandwell. The two schemes

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have received the green light under the City Deal programme ` where

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councils and business leaders are given more control over how money is

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spent locally. From Coventry, here's Kevin Reide.

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In spite of the gloomy skies there was an air of optimism in Coventry

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and Warwickshire today as the government announced the area was to

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get a so called City Deal. It'll give the local authority and local

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enterprise panel more powers to create jobs. We have to see this as

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a first step. This is as showing governments that if they give us

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more power, more Cash, we will spend it more effectively and we would get

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better things for the region. Here in Coventry their user money to set

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a clear house. It'll be a fast tracking centre the companies who

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want to expand. One such company is Penso, who carry out specialist

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design and manufacture for the likes of Jaguar, Land Rover and Mercedees.

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They're quickly outgrowing their space in Coventry and plan to double

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their size by building a new factory right next to their existing one.

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Instead of having a number of organisations go to, and I think

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there were over a hundred organisations we needed to approach

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your help, now we can go to one port or they will help us finance, it

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will help us with grants, it will help us are planning, and also

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developing our skills for. That is brilliant. The City Deal replaces

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the work done by the now disbanded Advantage West Midlands, and as for

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how may jobs will be created forecasts vary, but the Prime

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Minister said on local radio today it would be more than 10,000.

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Today's announcement is not a complete rose garden though. We hope

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to see extra jobs by 2025, and support growth in engineering. The

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audit commission said other city deals had not yet demonstrated that

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they can deliver value for money. Kevin Reide, BBC Midlands Today,

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Coventry. Joining me now is the chairman of

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the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership, Stewart Towe. Nearly

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6,000 new jobs and 1500 apprenticeships. How important is

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this to the Black Country? This is fantastic news. We have some the

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world players in automotive and airspace. What you really need to do

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now is to make sure we have got those other sites, and those skills

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available to attract supply chain in, so we can both encourage our

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existing companies to grow, and also attract inward investment, so we are

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making the most of those skills which are there in the Black

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Country. Your proposal also includes support for 2,800 long term

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unemployed. How tough is it to find work in the Black Country? It is a

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big problem. To get our young people to understand that careers in

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engineering are good opportunities, those tenants are there. They are

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showing growth in all they are doing. We now have a supply chain

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looking behind them are businesses who want to be part of that advanced

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manufacturing in our area. We need both young people and the long`term

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unemployed to understand that these opportunities for them, as well for

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other people already qualified. What about the here and now? Many those

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anchor tenants are a long way through their plan but the engine

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plans. Those are needed built, those jobs are nearly there. We need to

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make sure that Brownfield sites are available for the supply chain into

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those, to make sure that when the keys are in place, we can make sure

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the maximum opportunities are available to the people in the Black

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Country. Does this mean the local enterprise partnerships are working?

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It means we know what those issues are, locally. It means that the

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partnership between the public and private sector is really important,

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in terms of taking forward the opportunity for the people and the

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jobs in the Black Country. Thank you.

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Part of Birmingham City centre is being re`named the 'Social

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Enterprise Quarter' to promote companies that use their profits to

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help society. National examples include The Big Issue magazine, the

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Eden Project in Cornwall and Jamie Oliver's restaurant Fifteen, and

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it's thought there are 300 social enterprises in Birmingham. Our

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business correspondent Peter Plisner reports.

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Making his daily bread. Albert Smith used to be a nurse. That was until

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he decided to start a social enterprise bakery. For him a

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liberating experience. I think I can make my own decisions. I am able to

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create things that in my previous occupation I couldn't. I network and

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I determine how much how little I pay. And Albert was there today at a

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special market to launch Birmingham's new Social Enterprise

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Quarter. So too was council leader Sir Albert Bore whose a big fan of

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the concept. Every can cluster them, then it will attract others, and a

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major scare that encouragement to individuals who are thought about

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setting up a small business, but not done so. The brianchild of Sarah

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Crawley the head of the Digbeth based Initiative for Social

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Entrprenuers, the aim now is to increase the number of new firms.

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What we expect will happen is they will do a lot of inter`trading, they

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will work together and improve their businesses in terms of the

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activities they do. It will improve the numbers are people they employ,

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but also their contribution to the economy of Birmingham. This is a

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custom factory in the centre of Birmingham. There are 30 different

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firms operating from these buildings. One of them is SHELANU, a

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women's craft collective making specialist cards and jewelery. It

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has a very deep social purpose, which is why it is a sort of

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enterprise, because it is there, providing a sense of belonging for

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women in the city, and providing a kind of service for women. Once

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described as the city of a thousand trades. If more social enterprises

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are set up, then Birmingham might get the title back. Peter Plisner,

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BBC Midlands Today in Digbeth. This is our top story tonight: Rated

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inadequate for four years, now a pledge from Birmingham City Council

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to transform children's services. Your detailed weather forecast to

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

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Forget fast and furious football: how about the more genteel version,

:18:28.:18:38.

walk football for the over 55s? Lit by 20,000 lives, a winter

:18:39.:18:49.

wonderland. Join me shortly. Campaigners fighting to protect

:18:50.:18:51.

services at their local hospital are staging a candle`lit vigil tonight.

:18:52.:18:55.

A and maternity services at the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch could

:18:56.:18:58.

be moved to hospitals in Worcester or Birmingham as part of a ?50m

:18:59.:19:03.

savings plan. Ben Sidwell is in Redditch tonight. Ben, what's the

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mood at the vigil? There is a small but cheerful group behind me. They

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are pretty determined. Eight years ago to the day they were here,

:19:17.:19:22.

fighting exactly the same cause. That tiny one, this time they're

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fighting the battle again. Let's talk to the chairman. Neil, you are

:19:27.:19:34.

fighting to save services? We are beamed at the two years. Basically,

:19:35.:19:39.

we are appealing for the NHS to maintain accessible services with

:19:40.:19:43.

the capacity to cope the people in Redditch. You get out there as a

:19:44.:19:52.

group. Our leaders appointed by the numbers here? Would you expect more?

:19:53.:20:00.

It is a cold December evening. We have a 55,000 strong petition.

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People do what they can, and we just hope the NHS are listening to the

:20:05.:20:09.

thousands of people they spoke to. B to the town's MP. They are talking

:20:10.:20:15.

about this today. What would your message be? We do need sustainable

:20:16.:20:24.

services here. It is crucial that this hospital is remains open. I was

:20:25.:20:30.

assured as possible will remain open. I want to see the services of

:20:31.:20:37.

this hospital open. We will carry on campaigning until that happens. The

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guys are going to stay here with the candles. They're been here since

:20:43.:20:46.

four o'clock. They will stay here till about seven tonight. The result

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could be out sometime in early January. They should know early next

:20:52.:20:58.

month. Back to you. Thank you. Think football and it probably

:20:59.:21:01.

conjures up images like this ` the high`octane, lightning quick action

:21:02.:21:04.

on show when teams such as West Brom and Aston Villa collide in the

:21:05.:21:07.

Premier League. But, in Shropshire today, a footballer's life was a

:21:08.:21:10.

touch more genteel. In fact, everything was done at walking pace.

:21:11.:21:17.

Here's Laura May McMullan. It's still the beautiful game. It's

:21:18.:21:27.

just played at a slower pace. Anyone runs and it's a foul. Walking

:21:28.:21:32.

football was set up in Shrewsbury back in September. It's one of three

:21:33.:21:37.

groups across the county set up to improve the health of older men.

:21:38.:21:49.

Even if you're unfit, don't think you can't do this, because it is

:21:50.:21:53.

walking. It's got tremendous benefits. The sessions are aimed at

:21:54.:21:59.

men aged 55 and over. Robert Formby is the oldest member at 76. I've had

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my knees done twice but this is great and it keeps me healthy. White

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alike? For the exercise. It is good fun. I must have said a dozen times,

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referee, he is running. It is hard to work out whether you're running

:22:24.:22:28.

all you are a fast walker. Health experts say not enough people are

:22:29.:22:32.

exercising. Only a third of adults in England do the recommended 2.5

:22:33.:22:35.

hours a week of moderate exercise. But making a switch in your late

:22:36.:22:42.

40's or 50's can be a benefit. It's about changing people's perceptions

:22:43.:22:45.

and we're finding it's hard to get older men doing exercising The

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sessions take place every Thursday morning at the Monkmoor recreation

:22:49.:22:51.

ground and more new members are joining every week. New Age UK says

:22:52.:23:07.

a healthy heart is a healthy head. Members are joining every week.

:23:08.:23:16.

For the last nine years, Dave Edwards and his family have

:23:17.:23:18.

brightened up Christmas in their neighbourhood with a vast array of

:23:19.:23:23.

festive lights. And this year, Dave has decked out his home with a

:23:24.:23:26.

staggering 20,000 LED lights to raise cash for a Birmingham hospice.

:23:27.:23:33.

Lindsay Doyle is there now. It looks spectacular? It is incredible.

:23:34.:23:43.

20,000 lives. We have Christmas trees, we have Father Christmas and

:23:44.:23:49.

reindeers. It is incredible. The men behind it is Dave Edwards. Dave,

:23:50.:23:53.

you're been doing this for a number of years? I've been doing this since

:23:54.:24:02.

I was five years old. I'm 22 now. White Highlanders take to you to put

:24:03.:24:10.

them up? It is about 14 hours a day. What is your lectures the belike? It

:24:11.:24:16.

is 90% more efficient than it was before. We hardly even noticed it.

:24:17.:24:24.

It is all the charity? Yes. We tried to raise for local charity. Caters

:24:25.:24:30.

with me now. You must be delighted they do for you? It is fantastic.

:24:31.:24:40.

Dave has already raised ?250 for the hospice, and we would love to travel

:24:41.:24:44.

it, because that put a carer by the bed for at least a week. Come and be

:24:45.:24:49.

inspired by these lights. These are wonderful, Ashley when the ball. You

:24:50.:24:52.

don't know they're here and be inspired by these lights. These are

:24:53.:24:55.

wonderful, Ashley when the ball. You don't know they're here until you

:24:56.:25:00.

can. I was astonished when I saw it. It is fantastic. There is a

:25:01.:25:05.

donations box, if you want to come along, take a look at this

:25:06.:25:11.

spectacular display, and donate if you're able to. Back to you.

:25:12.:25:18.

Time for the weather, and it's been quite mild today, hasn't it? Will it

:25:19.:25:25.

go on, Shefali? Anything the only thing that inspired it is it turning

:25:26.:25:42.

wintry. Rain is coming. You can see that there is increasing pressure

:25:43.:25:46.

around that, which indicates the winds are increasing as we head into

:25:47.:25:51.

the weekend. We get the ball rolling this evening and overnight. The rain

:25:52.:25:54.

is already starting to sweep up on the south`west. It is very

:25:55.:25:58.

fragmented, but there will be some dark centres, indicating where the

:25:59.:26:01.

heaviest outbreaks will be. This will ease in the early hours. In

:26:02.:26:12.

some places there are loads of nine to 10 Celsius. `` Loews. For a brief

:26:13.:26:22.

time tomorrow morning, it is looking very dry, quite quiet, then it is

:26:23.:26:26.

not long before the next band of rain comes. This one could be a bit

:26:27.:26:31.

heavier, more active. You can see a lot of dark colours there. It would

:26:32.:26:37.

be quite torrential, and possibly contain thunder. It won't last for

:26:38.:26:43.

too long. Later on in the afternoon, it will get dryer, but it is milder

:26:44.:26:49.

than today, with highs of 11 degrees. As rain rattled through, it

:26:50.:26:54.

will turn a bit breezy. This is what is going on over the weekend. We

:26:55.:26:59.

have two more bands of rain coming through, but because of the timing

:27:00.:27:04.

of those, one is Saturday and the other is Sunday into Monday. It

:27:05.:27:13.

deals still going to be mild, although it will be quite windy.

:27:14.:27:17.

This is what the weekend is looking at. Highs of nine to 11 Celsius.

:27:18.:27:20.

at. Highs of nine to Tonight's headlines from the BBC. 22

:27:21.:27:23.

air ambulance and police helicopters are grounded after a fault is

:27:24.:27:26.

discovered. And rated inadequate for four years,

:27:27.:27:30.

now there's a pledge from Birmingham City Council to transform children's

:27:31.:27:33.

services. That was the Midlands Today. I'll be

:27:34.:27:37.

back at ten o'clock with more on the ?48 million biomass plant planned

:27:38.:27:40.

for Birmingham which will be able to power 17,000 homes a year. Have a

:27:41.:27:42.

great evening.

:27:43.:27:46.

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