02/01/2014 Midlands Today


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Campaigners say prices are rising three times faster than wages. That


is all from BBC Hello and welcome to Midlands Today.


The headlines tonight: Name and shame ` two police forces


criticised for publishing names of drivers charged with drink`driving.


The police have pulled you for a reason and stop to and you have


blown into the breathalyser and failed. What do you expect?


A top lawyer tells us Staffordshire's Crime Commissioner


should resign. Also tonight, bouncing back `


businesses report an increase in sales at the end of last year but


they're still struggling to find skilled staff. We've got an ageing


workforce and we are currently taking apprentices on to try to


bridge the gap. Save our open spaces ` the fight to


stop the sale of a historic part of city`living.


100 reasons to love Birmingham ` the film`maker out to change


stereotypes. And one of the rare occasions today


when the sun shone and unseasonably mild weather brought an early burst


of blossom. Is nature confused or just trying to tell us something?


Join me later for the forecast. Good evening. A top lawyer has


called for the Staffordshire Police and Crime Commissioner to resign


after his force decided to name and shame people who've been charged


with drink and drug`driving before they're convicted. Nick Freeman says


the policy could prejudice cases before they get to court. The


policy, which has been running over the Christmas period in


Staffordshire and West Midlands Police force areas, was designed to


make people think twice about drink`driving, as Liz Copper


reports. It's a year`round message, but the


annual Christmas drink`drive crackdown is always launched with


publicity. This year, though, it's courted controversy, too.


Staffordshire's one of several forces which have published the


names of drivers who've been charged with, though not yet convicted of,


drink`drive offences. Nick Freeman's a lawyer who has made his name


representing motorists. It's earned him the nick`name Mr Loophole. He's


highly critical of the move. There's an enormous prejudice with naming


and shaming prior to conviction. Because some of these people are


going to be `` who have been charged will be acquitted and there are lots


of allegations not supported by the evidence. In response, Staffordshire


Police have said the campaign is aimed at promoting responsible


attitudes to drinking over the festive period. We know that during


the Christmas period, drink`driving goes up during the year, so this is


a campaign to liberate targeted to reduce people getting behind the


wheel of the car who have had a drink. Joan O'Brien, who was a


mother of six, was killed by a drink`driver. Her family think it's


acceptable to name suspected drink`drivers via social media. I


know what people are saying ` it is going to get back to your family and


friends and everybody will know and it has gone viral and worldwide and


everybody will know you are a drink driver with you have done it or not.


But the police have pulled you over for a reason, they have stopped you


and you have blown into a breathalyser and it has come back as


failed. What do you expect? The police accept the policy has been a


controversial one, but what do drivers think? I don't like


drink`driving and I think it is quite acceptable. I think it is a


good idea, yeah. Drink`driving is a no`go. In Staffordshire, the police


say they'll be evaluating the success of this year's campaign and


won't be drawn on whether the name`and`shame strategy will be


repeated. And Liz joins us now. Matthew Ellis


has defended himself and his force over this issue? Well, he hasn't


been available for interview today because of a long`standing family


commitment that he has written about this issue on his blog and responded


to Mr Freeman's comments. He said this is a proactive campaign that


has been launched by Staffordshire police to raise the issue of


drink`driving and the tragedy it can cause, and he said if one person is


safe because more people are thinking hard before drinking and


getting behind the wheel of a car, that has got to be a benefit. For


his part, Mr Freeman says he supports any effort and any campaign


to cut the number of drink drivers on the road. He just thinks there


are better ways to do that, and in particular he would support a


campaign where people who convicted of drink`driving offences are. He


believes that would have a much bigger impact and would be much more


effective. Thank you. This issue has caused quite a debate


on our Facebook and Twitter pages. Richard Hancher tweeted, "This seems


to fly in the face of innocent until proven guilty. And why only for


drink`drive offences?" But Nick Insull says, "Name and


shame. If they've failed a roadside test they're guilty, but it could be


a good deterrent. Anything to stop this behaviour."


On Facebook Justin Hales said, "We name suspects charged with murder


and other serious offences. It's in the public interest. This is no


different." Ruth Simmonds said, "The police


should name and shame once convicted, but not before the matter


has gone to court." Sam Coxhead said, "It's not a


deterrent. People who drink and drive don't worry if they are going


to kill someone, so why would they worry about Facebook or Twitter?"


Rob Thomas says, "As far as I'm concerned, you shouldn't be allowed


to drive even after just one drink but I do wonder what has happened


about innocent until proven guilty. Are we now marching towards trial by


Twitter and Facebook?" Thank you for all of your comments.


Coming up later in the programme, tackling a growing rat population


with science. How the rampant rodents are being controlled with


the help of a laser beam. Economic recovery is gathering pace


among businesses in the Birmingham area. A survey carried out by the


city's Chamber of Commerce suggests an upturn in orders at home and


abroad is fuelling confidence. It's forecasting further improvements in


the year ahead but warns that a shortage of skills is still


hampering growth, as Giles Latcham reports.


BSA is a famous Birmingham brand with a proud history but it's busy


investing in its future. 70% of its workforce is over 60, and that's


because they're the ones with the skills. So they're taking on


apprentices like Tim, training them up for a kind of engineering that


fell out of fashion. Most people are new at University barely knew what a


lathe was, let alone what it did. So to end up in machinery is quite


unusual. These lathes are destined for Pakistan. It's a big contract


and the order book is looking healthy. I think the future is rosy


if we can address the skills gap and the access to finance, and then I


think we will grow and grow fast. They are not alone in their optimism


here. 400 plus firms responded to a survey and the consensus is that


they are turning a corner. ?? WHITE 44% of manufacturers reported


increased sales in the UK market compared with 33% in December 2012.


52% said exports were up, a big leap from 37%. In the service sector, 46%


reported increased sales at home, the highest since 2007. It is still


fragile economy and we shouldn't get carried away, but, my goodness, this


is a great start to 2014 because it is the businesses that will make


sure we do have the jobs and the wealth to pay for the lifestyles we


all want. At Hydrapower, they make pipes for everything from wind


turbines to torpedoes. They, too, sense an upturn in 2014. The first


quarter is certainly looking quite good for us. We have seen an upturn


in the schedules that have come through. And the budgets and


predictions we have for the rest of the year are quite good as well. In


some quarters, unemployment remains stubbornly high. Others, though,


start the new year convinced there are reasons to be cheerful.


Administrators called in following the collapse of a Midlands


stationery company have confirmed 17 of its 20 stores are to close.


Osbornes was put into administration last month. At the time, it employed


140 people and had its headquarters in Birmingham. Closing`down sales


are now taking place at 14 shops but it's hoped that three can be saved.


The body of a Worcestershire man who was last seen four days before


Christmas has been found in a bin store at a block of flats. Stuart


Caswell from Redditch told friends he was popping to the shops on 21st


December but didn't return. His body was found in a bin cupboard at the


flats in the Winyates area of the town on New Year's Eve.


The number of flood warnings in the region has risen to 20. `` 26. Areas


of Gloucestershire along the Severn Estuary are affected. A high tide on


the Severn tomorrow morning is expected to create a tidal surge, or


bore. Elsewhere, the Wye in Herefordshire is expected to peak


this evening. It was built more than 100 years ago


to improve the living conditions of workers in the city, but now people


with homes on the Moor Pool estate in Birmingham could lose their


community facilities. The idea behind the Garden Suburb Movement


was to give families green spaces and a better standard of living. Our


reporter Bob Hockenhull is in Harborne for us now. So what


facilities are up for sale? Well, there are also is. There is the main


hall which is used to stage events like plays and it has mother and


toddler groups. There are also tennis courts, a bowling green,


allotments and even a shop. All of these could be converted for


different uses and that is something the residents here are desperate to


avoid, because they see this area of Birmingham is a hidden gem.


Built on rolling fields in 1907, the Moor Pool estate was devised as a


green alternative to the back`to`back slums where many


residents of Birmingham lived. Town planner John Sutton Nettlefold


oversaw the construction of the 500 houses which today represent one of


the few intact garden suburbs in the country. Residents say the community


spirit is still alive but under threat, because the estate's current


owners want to sell off its facilities. Well, the big fear is we


won't have the heart of the state any more, that it will be lost to


the local people and all of those who come down from outside and use


the community hall. Grainger, the company which took over the running


of the estate 11 years ago, is giving the community first refusal


to purchase the assets. We have got till September this year to do


that. We have to raise about ?300,000 to complete the deal. It is


very important that we achieve it. It is a once`in`a`lifetime


opportunity to keep Moor Pool for the future. The community has


already raised ?16,000 through fundraising, but nearly there is a


long way to go in a short space of time, so it is appealing to


organisations like the Heritage Lottery Fund to help with grants.


The fear is other prospective buyers would develop the land and not


maintain the community facilities, something lifelong residents like


Barbara Ikin find hard to contemplate. I have roamed all of


the little avenues and bypasses, the passages, I've written my bicycle,


my children have done the same. `` ridden. And if that is taken away...


It is nothing. Base`mack will have gone for ever. `` Moor Pool.


Instead, the residents hope it'll be preserved as an estate others aspire


to copy. Grainger, the current owners, haven't put anything up for


comment but it is hoped the residents will get the first chance


to buy these facilities, and these facilities the residents not only


want local people to use, but the whole of Birmingham, and they have


or be invited school groups down to show them the estate, which they are


very proud of and feel is a good way of living.


If rats aren't your thing, you might find our next story a little


unnerving. Pest control services across the West Midlands are some of


the busiest in the country. 48,500 rat treatments were carried out in


2013 ` that's almost a fifth of the UK total. With a treatment costing


on average ?80, that works to nearly ?4 million a year. But now


scientists in Birmingham have created a new way of controlling the


rat population. Our science correspondent David Gregory`Kumar


has the details. In the Midlands and especially


Birmingham you're never far from a rat. So, not surprisingly,


Birmingham is the place in the UK making the most calls to pest


control experts like Carl Richards. So, what are these holes? Is this a


sign of a rat? These are burrows, which is typical of quite a fairly


sized infestation. Traditional traps entice rats in with poisoned bait.


But there's no way to control the amount they eat and or the dose of


poison they get. The problem is, in some parts of the country, rats are


becoming resistant to the poison we give them and they are passing on


that resistance to their offspring. We are looking at a generation of


poison`resistant super`rats. Scientists worry that it will take


more and more poison to do the job, and that poses problems. We are


putting more poison down to try to kill the rats that are freely


roaming in these areas and you often don't notice there is a massive


amount of poison hidden in a little black box at the side of the road or


at the side of your house. But at the University of Aston, they're


working on a completely new type of rat`trap that avoids all these


problems. It works by spraying the rats with a toxin, so unlike normal


traps, they don't have to eat the poison. They are dosed with it. It


is a fixed dose and they go on to die from that poison at a later


time. The rat enters the trap and breaks a laser beam that allows an


in`built computer to work out how big the rat is and the precise dose


of poison to spray directly on to the skin of the rat to kill it. Rats


aren't just a problem in Birmingham. Worldwide they carry disease and


destroy crops. So a new type of control would bring benefits for


everyone. Our top story tonight:


Name and shame ` two police forces criticised for publishing names of


drivers charged with drink`driving. Your detailed weather forecast to


come shortly, with Shefali. Also tonight, an early contender for


goal of the month? Find out how this helped Coventry City secure three


points. John bridesmaid Birmingham the


battleground... `` John bride made. And why this film`maker is on a


mission to bring you fascinating facts about Birmingham.


2014 will be a busy year in politics, with elections for seven


Midlands seats in the European Parliament, as well as polling in 19


of our local authorities. It's expected to set the scene for next


year's general election. And, as our political editor, Patrick Burns,


explains, all eyes will be on our key marginal Parliamentary


constituencies. Dudley. Famous for its castle, and,


of course, its zoo. But who'll be the kings and queens of the


political jungle in this town of two marginals? It comes down to


target`setting, because one of the many unfamiliar features of this era


of coalition politics is that both main parties have their sights set


on separate sets of marginal seats in their pursuit of a majority in


the next House of Commons. Here in Dudley, for example, in Dudley


North, Labour have a majority of just 649. And in Dudley South, the


Conservative majority is under 4,000. So the mood on the streets


surrounding 19 councils, including Dudley, holding elections in May,


will be closely monitored by political strategists gearing up for


the general election less than a year after that. Increasingly,


election campaigns have been aimed at that small group of swing voters,


those who change their mind, and, increasingly, a small group of swing


seats, and that is why so much attention is focused on the West


Midlands. Our Parliamentary marginals have traditionally been


predominantly two`party affairs. All of Labour's top`ten targets are


currently Conservative`held, apart from Liberal Democrat Birmingham


Yardley. And all the Conservatives' targets are currently Labour seats,


apart from Solihull with its precarious Liberal Democrat majority


of 175. And just look at how many of those swing seats also happen to


feature among the list of council elections in May. This time, though,


the Parliamentary parties have a gate`crasher. If UKIP's poll ratings


are anything to go by, the European elections could see them pushing the


Conservatives into third place. The conventional wisdom is that the


Conservatives will be damaged by voters defecting to UKIP but this


misreads the data. UKIP are party of disaffected voters, and especially


during the Labour years of Tony Blair and then Gordon Brown, many


working`class Labour voters to UKIP. The issues were living standards and


employment in particular. So both parties stand to suffer in these


areas. Which sets things up intriguingly for the strategists


here at Westminster. They know May's European and Council elections will


strike up the mood music for the general election a year after that.


We move into 2014 with it being clear that we made the right


decisions to try to rescue the country and put that for party


interest and rescue the country to try to protect the low paid by


cutting taxes on the low paid and trying to get a fairer society, but,


at the same time, trying to deal with a very difficult financial


situation, which now seems to be coming good. The East Midlands is a


battle ground area and there are seats in Redditch and Warwickshire


that we need to fight very hard for, which is why your job will be even


more exciting come 2015! The Conservatives will be reminding them


about the economy, how well we're doing, the European referendum,


those sorts of things. But it is about setting the mood music for the


big election, the general election, in 2015. Save the date. The European


and local elections are all on Thursday 22nd May, to bolster


turnouts and cut costs. Forget Super Tuesday in those US Presidential


Elections. We'll have Super Thursday.


And you can read more about the year ahead on Patrick's blog.


Ian Winter is here with the sport, and a good start to the new year for


most of our football clubs? Let's not get carried away! The new


year is still less than 48 hours old. But we almost started 2014 with


a clean sweep in the Premier League. Only 15 minutes gone at Sunderland,


when Lee Cattermole delivered a very generous gift to Gabby Agbonlahor.


The Villa striker said "thanks very much". And this proved to be the


only goal of the game, to give Aston Villa a very important victory.


1`0 was also a popular score for Albion's caretaker coach, Keith


Downing. A late penalty from Saido Berahino was enough to beat


Newcastle. Four games without defeat, six points out of 12 over


the festive period. And we came so close to a hat`trick


of 1`0 victories? Yes. Stoke City have a new hero. Four minutes after


the break, Oussama Assaidi, on loan from Liverpool, scored another


excellent goal to raise the decibels at the Britannia Stadium. That's his


fourth for Stoke, and they've all been crackers. But it wasn't enough


to win the match because deep into stoppage time, Jermaine Pennant


conceded a penalty and Leighton Baines, the man who never misses,


levelled the score at 1`1. A frustrating finale for the Stoke


fans and manager Mark Hughes. What does David Beckham have in


common with Carl Baker, the Coventry City captain? Becks married one of


the Spice Girls ` Bakes didn't. But they have both scored a goal from


their own half of the pitch, and, as Nick Clitheroe reports, Baker


achieved that remarkable feat, to seal Coventry's victory against


Rotherham. There has been plenty of drama on


and off the pitch at Coventry City this season but this topped the lot.


2`1 up but facing a last`minute penalty, Joe Murphy's save delighted


the travelling fans. But that was only the start. From the following


corner, and with the Rotherham keeper up in attack, the Coventry


captain Carl Baker broke away to score this amazing goal. So, despite


starting the season on minus ten, Coventry are just six points off the


play`offs now. Wolves are even better placed `


second and on course for automatic promotion. But they made hard work


of it at Tranmere. A man down and a goal down, they needed Dave Edwards


to rescue a point. Walsall are also in the chase in


League One. They're just a point off the play`offs after a win that


proved very memorable for James Chambers. The defender's winner was


his first League goal at the 274th attempt.


But what about the teams at the wrong end of their respective


tables? Birmingham City's ten` game unbeaten run has lifted them five


places clear of the Championship relegation zone. But it would be so


much better if they could just win at home. Yesterday's draw with


Barnsley was their fifth in a row at St Andrews, where they last won on


first October. We gave the ball away cheaply which results in a free kick


and they put it away incredibly well. It was frustrating in the


dressing room today because we felt a goal could have given us the


points we needed. Shrewsbury Town didn't win a game in


December but a new year brought a new start and three precious points


at Oldham, thanks to Aaron Wildig's winner.


Tomorrow evening, we're up for the Cup, with Kidderminster Harriers.


Thomas The Tank Engine and Sherlock Holmes ` just a couple of the more


surprising characters with Birmingham connections. A film`maker


who's so fed up with the stereotypical way that his home city


is portrayed has made a movie to prove there are 100 reasons to love


Brum. Sarah Falkland has been finding out more.


They do claim there are more canals in Birmingham... Than Venice. Than


Venice! And hearing that well`known fact


about Birmingham over and over again, that finally did it for


amateur film`maker Steve Rainbow. It kind of annoyed me that this was all


that people thought about Birmingham, so I thought, there must


be more to Birmingham than that, so why did some research and the year


later we have my short film. It's an hour`long film containing


100 facts. Made in a year on a shoestring budget, the film tells


you how Birmingham's Alexander Parks invented plastic. I'm wearing a


black T`shirt now and it is the same one eye war in virtually every shot,


and you will see a lump there, which is an old`fashioned microphone


stuffed into my T`shirt. The film will tell you how Alexander Parkes


invented plastic. Did you know that Thomas The Tank Engine came from the


imagination of a curate from King's Norton. And how in 1940, it was


documented in Birmingham how to make an atomic explosion. And Dame


Barbara Cartland, writer of over 700 books and the prolific romantic


author, was born here. I have no idea why I'm talking in this


ridiculous voice! ?? WHITE Steve's film has already had over 5,000 hits


on YouTube, and he hopes to get it out to every secondary school in the


city. And you can read more about Steve's


film and find out how you can contribute more facts about the city


on the BBC Birmingham website. Some welcome sunshine around today,


but is it just a blip, Shefali? I'm afraid to say it is. Thank you.


Totally out of character from what eye can see for the rest of the


week. The fora go into the gory details, I just wanted to mention a


couple of facts about last month. It has been mild and also it has been


quite stormy. In fact, these were the rainfall totals recorded across


some parts of the region last month, but if I'd tell you they represent


20% above average it gives you an indication of how wet it has been.


It is all down to this, which is the Jetstream, a fast flowing current in


the upper atmosphere, and when it is to the south of us all the West, it


gives us those stormy conditions. We have a couple of storms heading our


way over the next few days. The first stormy period arrives later


tonight and then we have some activity on Saturday but not


amounting to storms. The next big event arrives on Sunday pushing in


from the West. You can see there's a couple of storms heading our way


over the next few days. The first stormy period arrives later tonight


and then we have some activity on Saturday but not amounting to


storms. The next big event arrives on Sunday pushing in from the West.


You can see those very tightly packed isobars with `` low`pressure.


Back to this evening, it is quiet for the eastern half of the region,


at the area of rain here is starting to push in from the West, though it


should move out of the way quite quickly, so you will find in the


early hours it will be a much try a picture. We could have about 20


millimetres, about an inch, and considering ground is already


saturated, that could make quite a difference. For the morning


tomorrow, deceptively dry with sunshine and a few showers flitting


across the region, but then more potent showers starting to push up


from the south`west through the rest of the afternoon and particularly in


the evening tomorrow, another period of wet weather with gusts of 50


mph. Tomorrow night, the showers will eventually fade away leaving us


with much drier conditions towards the end of the night, with clearest


bells, but then, as I've said, rain. Today and storms on Sunday.


Tonight's headlines from the BBC: Trains fares rise by an average of


2.8%, up three times more than incomes.


Name and shame, as two police forces are criticised for publishing names


of drivers charged with drink`driving.


That was the Midlands Today. I'll be back at 10pm with more on the


optimism for growth among some of our businesses. For now, goodbye.


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