08/01/2014 Midlands Today


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from the BBC News at Six. So it's goodbye from me. On BBC One we now


join the BBC's news Hello and welcome to Midlands Today.


The headlines tonight: Unpalatable and unacceptable says the leader of


Wolverhampton Council, as cuts of ?123 million are confirmed over the


next five years. Look before you cut. You may be doing people who are


desperately in need and injustice. We'll be asking the where those cuts


will come and talk live to the city's only Conservative MP.


Also tonight: Get to emergencies quicker or risk being fined ?3


million. The stark warning to West Midlands Ambulance Service.


Stoke's rising obesity problem, what the city is doing to help the one in


three who are putting their lives at risk.


We meet the talented young musician and athlete who's setting her sights


on the Commonwealth Games. She also has a bobsleigh silver medal! I am


still only 19. I've hopefully got a long career ahead of me.


And if recent weather patterns are anything to go by, it's never stays


calm for long. After a day of rest, get ready for a night of rain.


Good evening. In the last hour, senior councillors have approved a


fresh round of multi`million pound budget cuts. The decision to cut


?123 million over five years from Wolverhampton Council's budget was


described by its leader as unpalatable and unacceptable. In a


moment I'll be talking to a senior Labour councillor in Wolverhampton,


and also the city's only Conservative MP, but first Sarah


Falkland's been gauging opinion in the city.


They want to cut, cut, cut. It's just disgusting really. Why? Why


have you got to cut everything? There's anger on the streets of


Whitmore Reans in Wolverhampton. Council cuts of ?123 million are on


their way. Unemployment here is more than double the national average and


over 10% of households are single parents. Peter Walker is one of


them. He says the cuts have gone too far. We all need a bit of help at


this moment. It's a bit too much, especially because no 1's got any


work. If we had work, it wouldn't be so bad. Sandra Grimme uses the


library for CDs books and twice. Under the current proposals library


opening hours be reduced from over 50 hours a week to just 15. What


they think and what is put in practice are two different things.


You cannot cut people down that have been used to access to things and


say you can only have so many hours a week. Over at the Lighthouse


Centre, they've learnt to cope with cuts. A vinyl night is one of the


many diverse attractions here apart from the draw of the cinemas.


They've had to be proactive specially as the council's


withdrawing half their grant and could now shut them out all


together. We have been working from hand to mouth in terms of budget


cuts and building our audiences to fill that gap. We just don't know


until we are told formally and it is a worry. Pensioners Ezra and Sylvia


Ricketts are beginning to wonder what they're getting for their


council tax. Only facilities we get our dump bins being emptied. They


say they might struggle to do that. Well... What do they do with the


money they are getting? The council would say that is the problem. The


government is not giving them enough.


Live now to Wolverhampton, and Councillor Andrew Johnson. Good


evening. How are you going to save this money? Well, we've taken a very


difficult decision tonight, to make even more cuts over and above those


that we have already been forced to make, because of the incredible


reduction in our government grant. Basically, we've lost over half of


the ground that the government gives us for council services between 2010


and 2015, 2016. That is a huge cut. It means we will have to take out


?123 million over the next five years out of the budget, which is


virtually impossible. Virtually impossible but you have to do it so


what effect will this have on the people of Wolverhampton and the city


itself? It is already having a dire effect. It is not something that we


want to do. I can completely empathise with the frustration of


the people you have interviewed today about the cutbacks. We have


already had announcements about libraries, much shorter hours, but


it will affect every part of the council's service. We simply cannot


make cuts of this magnitude without having service reductions which will


impact on the public. Will anything be protected? Well, we will


obviously protect statutory services we have to provide. For example, we


spend a great deal of money looking after children as is absolutely


necessary and morally right. We will protect those elements of the


service. But basically, in order to make cuts of this magnitude, every


part of what the council does will be affected. Do you accept that one


politician's cuts is one politician's savings. Cuts are being


made right across the country, not just at Wolverhampton City Council.


Yes but Wolverhampton City Council has faced worse cuts than many other


councils that serve far wealthier areas of the country. Also, the


local government sector has faced bigger cuts than any other


government department. This is really unfair on the people we


represent. Thank you. Wolverhampton South West MP is our `` at our


Westminster studio now. Picking up on that last point, this is really


unfair on Wolverhampton. As in everything in life, there are two


sides to the story. Councillor Johnson there was talking about


expenditure and how it is the fault of central government. But if you


look at Wolverhampton council's own figures, their current day`to`day


spending is about ?250 million and what they are projecting to spend


over the next five to six years is ?312 million. That is an increase of


25%. The reason these figures look so bad is because no other


government department and no other body that I'm aware of is looking to


increase spending over the next five to six years. If anything, they are


just basically looking to stand still. That is what is making the


figures look so bad. You saying that councillors are crying wolf? ?123


million over the next five years... They say that will have a real


impact on services, all but the essential services. You can present


the figures and the statistics in a certain way. It is important that


everybody who is watching this today and everybody who is a Wolverhampton


resident gets the full facts and a real sense of what figures are.


Talking about the residence, you will have heard one word which kept


coming up time and time again: Why? The simple fact I would put out


there, Mary, and it isn't often publicised. I'm sorry Councillor


Johnson didn't refer to it. Wolverhampton City Council have


debts of over ?500 million. The interest on that debt is ?25 million


a year. That is the saving that the council are looking to make. What


makes it slightly worse than that, they are looking to borrow an


additional ?75 million this year. When you look at that debt


bombshell, for every household in Wolverhampton, that is a cost of


?5,000 around every household in the city. We are not just talking about


Wolverhampton. There are cuts and savings which have to be made in


various areas in the West Midlands. ?840 million in Birmingham, ?109


million in Staffordshire. What are you making sure to `` what are you


doing to make sure the West Midlands gets a fair deal? The prime Minster


came here a couple of months ago and spoke candidly about how we will


survive in the future. In the 21st century, it's not just government


that every household who is going to have to live within its means. The


reality is, we cannot shirk that responsibility.


Coming up later in the programme: One man's rubbish is another man's


treasure. An award for the recycling project raising funds for local


charities. West Midlands Ambulance Service is


at risk of being fined ?3 million for breach of contract because it's


arriving late to too`many emergency calls. Its Chief Executive, Anthony


Marsh, told staff a fine would take money away from front`line services,


affect the training of paramedics and the buying of new equipment.


This report from our Health Correspondent, contains flashing


images. There have been problems with


ambulance responses in rural areas for some time. The death of new born


Kate Stanton`Davies in Ludlow in 2009. Problems getting Thomas


Passant from Bridgnot to hospital in 2012. This Christmas day an


82`year`old waited four hours for an ambulance in Oswestry. Ray Salmon


who represents ambulance workers says its not their fault. The system


is simply under too much pressure. Everything contributes to demand on


the Ambulance Service. They are working as hard as they can. They


cannot do any more. It is a comeback... Taking this many of them


would be a disaster. It is so ridiculous. It's no laughing matter.


West Midlands Ambulance Service should reach 75% of Red one calls in


eight minutes. That's patients who cardiac arrest or stop breathing. In


the West Mercia area of Herefordshire, Shropshire and


Worcestershire, it reached 68% last year. But on bad days it was just


better than 50%. In Coventry and Warwickshire it was 73%. The trust


has nine minutes to reach Red two. That's all other life threatening


conditions, but in Birmingham just missed it last year at 74.5% and in


the Black Country it was around 73% last year. The chief executive told


staff in a weekly briefing that fines are a real risk. Nobody from


the service was able to go on camera. In a statement, the trust


said it hoped the commissioners would reinvest finds in the


Ambulance Service to ensure safe care for patients. But what simply,


the money back. One former ambulance boss has little sympathy. He says


the service isn't using its resources properly and needs to


restructure. The proper way to get a fast response is to look at your


history, look at where the calls come from, look at which our


life`threatening, look at how many ambulances you need to meet that


demand and then prioritise where you put the ambulances. West Midlands


Ambulance told staff that the fine would take money away from paramedic


training and new ambulances. And Michele joins me now.


How likely do you think this fine is?


It should happen. They are bound by contract law and I know some of the


commissioners are disgruntled but nobody today wanted to talk to me. I


suspect that they are embarrassed this has gone into the public


domain. They realise they cannot really enforce this fine. The


Ambulance Service said it needs an extra ?6 million. It wants ?2


million for Shropshire. I suspect the modern `` money will recycle it.


Is it right that ambulance targets can result in a fine?


A lot of it is out of their control. Turnaround times in hospital,


problems in terms of lead blocking and so on... Lots of people have


sympathy. Certain people think they should have restructured and they


have had extra money to do this sort of thing. They are still not meeting


the targets which have actually been debased to some extent. This is the


private sector coming in. If you do it right, you get paid. If you


don't, you won't. An investigation's underway after a


man died in a fire at his home in Worcestershire. Crews were called to


the house in the Charford area of Bromsgrove yesterday afternoon.


Firefighters attempted to rescue the man who was in his 40s, but were


unable to save him from what they describe as a severe blaze.


Environment Agency staff have installed temporary flood barriers


in the Worcestershire town of Bewdley. The removable barriers are


in place as River Severn water levels are expected to rise


overnight. The Cabinet Minister responsible for


Britain's prisons says the disturbance at Oakwood near


Wolverhampton at the weekend was the result of teething troubles. Up to


20 inmates were involved at the privately`run prison, threatening


staff and damaging cells. Justice Secretary Chris Grayling say Oakwood


was one of the best prisons in the country.


The problem of obesity has been described as reaching epidemic


proportions in Stoke on Trent. It's estimated it costs the NHS in the


city ?50 million a year. With the new year, comes a new drive to


tackle the problem. Nikki Brennan lost four stone in a


year. And thanks to a healthy lifestyle has kept the weight off.


It's had a transformational effect. Life changing, yes. For my children


as well. I mean, I started doing things from scratch, making fresh


food which has made the children learn how to cook things a healthy


way. It's been good for them as well. Some of the members of this


gym have been referred here after having heart problems. They're given


help by experts from a cardiac rehab team. There is no point in a patient


working with us for five weeks, doing fantastically well and


achieving what you set out to achieve and then going back to their


previous lifestyle. We are looking at a long`term change. It is all


about long`term behavioural change. But getting that message across


hasn't been easy. The scale of the problem's concerning, One in four


ten to 11`year`olds in this city is classed as obese. The figure for


adults is almost one in three. And the cost to the health service is


expected to rise. It is reckoned around one in ten deaths could be


avoided if people who live a sedentary lifestyle did at least


half an hour's exercise five days a week. For those who've made the


commitment to come to the gym, the effort's paid off. You've got to


want to do it and it's the same as cutting out the rubbish you eat.


Yeah, it is all that. You've got to want to come. It looks a lot harder


than what it is. It's a lot more enjoyable when you get here and


start doing it. The challenge is to persuade more people in the city to


see the benefits of exercise and to help rein in what's become a serious


problem in the Potteries. This is our top story tonight:


Wolverhampton City Council confirms cuts of ?123 million. A senior


councillor says it will be virtually impossible. Your detailed weather


forecast to come shortly with Shefali. Also in tonight's


programme: Already a bobsleigh silver medallist, now this talented


law student is aiming to represent her country in the long jump.


And walking in the air since 1993. The Snowman comes home to the


theatre where it all started. Many of us have things we no longer


need, but are too good to go to the tip. A Warwickshire based project


has taken advantage of this and won an award for it. Their recycling


scheme ploughs the profits into supporting local community schemes.


Wellsbourne tip was threatened with closure two years ago under council


savings, a charity stepped in and with the help of volounteers and a


small workforce the site has now been praised by Downing Street. The


system is simple. People dump their rubbish, they're helped to recycle,


which in turn raises cash to keep the centre running. The scrap value


of small appliances is worth about ?150 per tonne. They are getting


around 20 times a month and the money from that helps pay for staff.


David Cameron wasn't recycling his Christmas waste today but there were


plenty of others grateful for a local resource on their doorstep.


More local involvement more personal responsibility. I think it's


excellent. I hope it encourages other people to bring things along.


It is important that every time `` town has a facility like this. We


get income from wealthy cycling and items we resell in the shops. The


business pays for itself essentially. The re`use shops offer


more than just bargains. Cash raised here will go to local charities and


it offers opportunities for volunteers. It is a feeling that


you've done something and contributed to the community. When


you are driving out grants of ?500 to ?1000 to a small group, that


money can actually make a really big difference. There are thousands of


community groups throughout Warwickshire which are under the


radar. Now almost in a full recycling circle the volunteers are


going to decide which local charities should benefit from the


profits of our rubbish. Time for sport now and Ian has news


of one football club who've got a new manager and one who are still


looking. Good evening. Just 24 hours after


sacking Steve Burr, Kidderminster Harriers have named Andy Thorn, the


former Coventry City manager, as their surprise choice to take over


at Aggborough. Thorn has been scouting for England since leaving


Coventry 18 months ago. His first job is to halt a dismal run of four


defeats in five league games. Harriers have slipped from second to


seventh in the Conference Premier. But still no sign of a new


appointment at West Bromwich Albion, more than three weeks after the club


sacked Steve Clarke. The latest bookies' favourite for the job is


the German Thomas Schaaf. He spent 14 years as manager of Werder


Bremen. His impressive CV has five major trophies including one


Bundesliga title. In League one, Shrewsbury Town lost


again, their fifth defeat in a row at home, beaten 2`0 by Leyton


Orient. Shrewsbury missed a few decent chances to go in front. But


they fell behind just before the half hour mark. And a late header


sealed the Shrews' fate. And lifted Orient above Wolves into the


automatic promotion places. Two years ago, Jazmin Sawyers jumped


into a bobsleigh and won a silver medal at the Winter Youth Olympics


in Austria. Now, Jazmin is bidding to compete in the long jump at this


Summer's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. 2014 could be a big year


for the versatile young athlete from Stoke`on`Trent, who's possibly the


busiest, most talented teenager I've ever met.


Nine months ago, Jazmin Sawyers had never played a single chord. Then


she spotted a guitar in a charity shop, taught herself online, wrote a


few songs and now and now she's playing gigs with an EP out soon.


There's no doubt about it, Jazmin's got talent. And not just for music.


Because first impressions don't begin to tell the full story, about


the university law student with a passion for sport. I am ridiculously


busy. There is barely a free moment but I prefer it that way. It is


manic but it works. Midlands Today first met Jazmin when she was only


13. Competing in the high jump at Birmingham's Alexander Stadium. The


rain poured down, but her star potential was on the up and up.


Three years later, she was competing at the Winter Youth Olympics in


Austria. Touching 70 miles an hour in the bobsleigh. She was thrilled


to bits to win a silver medal. Unbelievable. There are no words.


Honestly, it's the best feeling I've ever experienced. But this is where


Jazmin's true love really lies, in the long jump. And her sights are


firmly set upon the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this summer. What


is the connection between Bobsleigh and long jump? People ask that. They


are similar. With both use print and jump. One is nice and you are


pushing something. But the skills that you need are really similar.


You've got speed and power. To qualify for the Commonwealth Games,


Jazmine must add an extra seven centimetres to her best jump before


the team is announced in June. But she's confident she'll deliver in


time. We've got the Bobsleigh, the long jump, your music, your law


degree, your part time job. What do you do in your spare time? There


isn't any spare time. I make sure there isn't any! You are buzzing


about 2014, aren't you? And excited. I feel myself constantly excited at


the moment. I got so much to be excited about and what a great way


to be. With guitar in hand, her stage name is Jazmin Jayne. But in


the athletics arena, it'll be the long jumper Jazmin Sawyers, who's


bidding to make a name for herself in Glasgow.


Only one thing's for sure, the next few months will be even busier than


normal for Jazmin. Good luck! You saw her here first.


Seen by over one million people worldwide, the stage version of the


Snowman is back in Birmingham to celebrate its 20th anniversary. The


live version of Raymond Briggs' children's classic was created at


the Birmingham Rep. The magical tale of a young boy's


adventures when his snowman comes to life on Chrismas Eve. This stage


version was created in 1993 at the Reperatory Theatre in Birmingham. It


is very much about that. It is associated with the stage version so


when we take it to London, it plays in London's West End every


Christmas. It's Birmingham 's name that is up there. It has been to


Japan, Holland, career, all those people around the world have seen


what was made in Birmingham and exported from the Wrap. `` Rep. The


show's music is well known. Walking in the Air reached number five in


the UK charts in 1985 when Aled Jones sang it. But the additinal


music for this show was composed right here backstage. They are


starting to rehearse the cast and I'm going to write new dances on


things so it would be great to try it. I will adjust them and I can be


there. It was fun and it works brilliantly actually. I'm very fond


of this theatre. The Birmingham trademark is all over this show. All


the costumes are handmade here in the wardrobe department, taking the


workmanship right across the world. Now, there are 60 costumes per show


and 11 snowman costumes each taking a week to make. They are made out of


11 miles of white net. And it's not just costumes made here. The


original boy was from Solihull. This is the first place that I was on


stage. This is Birmingham. This is the way I remember it, Birmingham,


and the fact it was the first place to show the Snowman, is quite an


honour. And for the next ten days, the Snowman is back where it


started. As we saw earlier, flood defences up


in Bewdley. Shefali, that suggests more heavy rain tonight?


Warning from The Met office for this evening, tonight and running into


tomorrow morning for Herefordshire and Shropshire. They will be heavy


rain. That will not only add to current problems but lead to a delay


in recovery. At least today gave us a breather and there is more dry


weather to come. Focusing on the positives, this is how it is looking


for the dry weather over the next few days. It is dry tomorrow and


dryer on Saturday. This is when we have the rain arriving. It will


arrive tonight and it is this crossbow feature coupled with low


pressure that is pushing it through. After that, under the front will


come through on Friday. This one could also have some heavy rain


along it. It is followed by high pressure which settles things down


for Saturday. What we cannot project onto in this current run is the rain


that will arrive later on Sunday and into the start of next week. What we


also see towards the weekend and also into next week is temperatures


dropping and it becoming a lot colder. For this evening, we had


this rain leading into the West earlier on today. It has now


stretched across this reason `` region. It is not all light rain. In


fact, a lot of it will be heavy. Particularly so for the western half


of the region. It will clear during the early hours but will be followed


by fairly lively, heavy showers as well. Temperatures will be down to


six or seven Celsius. Still on the mild side. These should clear by


tomorrow. If you clipping the extremities of the North. On the


whole, they will be dry, bright and fairly sunny and places. Just a few


dotted around the north eastern half of the region through the day. A lot


of dry weather to be had in highs of seven to eight Celsius. Tomorrow, we


sense things becoming a lot colder. It is dry, we have clearing skies


and the temperatures will be near freezing with a touch of Frost. Rain


later on Friday. Try on Saturday. Tonight's headlines from the BBC: It


was the death that sparked riots in London and beyond. A jury decides


Mark Duggan was lawfully killed by police A US military helicopter


crash in Norfolk `` four people died when the aircraft came down last


night Wolverhampton City Council confirms cuts of ?123 million must


be made over the next five years And get to emergencies quicker or risk


being fined ?3 million. The stark warning to West Midlands Ambulance


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


back at ten o'clock with more on the likely impact of those cuts in


Wolvehampton. Have a great evening. Goodbye.


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