28/01/2014 Midlands Today


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Hello and welcome to Midlands Today. The headlines tonight. Boost for


Coventry as Nissan announce a ?6 million deal to assemble taxis in


the city. We have some of the highest skilled


people in the industry right on our doorstep. We employ some already and


we can get more. We'll be finding out exactly what


this means for Coventry and the whole automotive business in the


West Midlands. Also tonight. Four men are arrested


across Birmingham by police investigating mobile phone theft and


fraud. There is no such thing as a


victimless crime. Secret filming shows migrant workers


in the region being paid less than the minimum wage.


Find out why this gun is making the journey from Herefordshire to


France. And brace yourself, things are about


to get colder. The first wintry spells of the year. But will they


last? Your full forecast is on the way.


Good evening. The Japanese car giant Nissan has announced a ?6 million


investment in Coventry as it looks to break into the London taxi cab


market. Nissan will build their new taxis in Barcelona, then ship them


to a firm in Coventry for assembly. It's another major boost for the


West Midlands' automotive industry, which is already buoyed by the


performance of Jaguar Land Rover. In a moment, we'll be hearing from a


senior Nissan executive, but first here's Joan Cummins.


This is one of the Nissan prototype taxis that will represent the


Japanese car giants attempts to conquer the London Taxi market.


Launched in January and based on a van design, the vehicles will be


shipped from Barcelona to ADV Coventry for a black cab


transformation. We will be converting the vehicle


which arrives from Spain, which is a commercial vehicle made by Nissan in


Barcelona, and we will be converting it to a full London taxi


specification. We have some of the highest skilled people in industry


on our doorstep. ADV have only been in business for


three years, but already they're established as a major supplier to


many of the prestige car manufacturers in the country and


currently employ 150 staff. By Christmas, this is going to be


the new assembly hall for the Nissan taxi. It is unclear exactly how many


jobs will be created, but I'm told it will be significant. Today's


announcement of investment and the prospect of new jobs was seen as


re`establishing the region as the heartland of car production.


It's excellent news for the city and Warwickshire. It just goes to show


that if you want to build a car, the ideal place to build it is in this


region. We have got those skills, the workforce and the location and


it is very good news all round. But Coventry is already famous for black


cabs with the London Taxi company, so is there room for rival


neighbours? I think we will see that they will both rise to the


competitive challenge and overall the local supply chain and


automotive economy will be all the stronger for it. With the order


books recovering the biggest challenge for employers now is


ensuring that the region's skills remain the brightest in the country.


Earlier, I spoke to Andy Palmer, the Chief Planning Officer and Executive


Vice President of the Nissan Corporation. I asked him why Nissan


chose ADV in Coventry. We went through a selection process and


looked at all of the possible places that could manufacture the Nissan


London taxi. And this was the most competitive. The most compelling


choice. Great news for the company in Coventry.


And this will be a hefty commitment for ADV and create jobs? Absolutely.


There is an investment of around ?6 million to make this happen. The


investment coming from Nissan, ADV and help from the government.


Coventry is becoming a bit of a taxi capital? You'll have competition.


Competition is always healthy. It is part of what makes the motor


industry go round. Obviously, we find in Coventry we have the skills


base here to do what we want. And it is our dream as Nissan that we


change the way that people think about mobility. In particular taxis.


Particularly by the use of electric taxis which is part of the mandate


that ADV has to create the electric London taxi. I think it will


ultimately change society and Coventry and ADV will be at the


centre of it. Now we are talking petrol driven


cars and all electric and Boris Johnson has made it clear that


bringing down emisssions is high on the agenda. Yes, indeed. London is


basically stating that by 2018, the electric vehicle zone will be in


place. In fact, Nissan will bring the London taxi, the EV version of


the London taxi, to market in 2015, made in Coventry. Our commitment is


to have that electric taxi on sale in a city in the UK in 2015.


Live now to Coventry now and our reporter Joan Cummins. Joan, a real


boost for the city, isn't it? Yes, it is. We do not know the exact


figures on jobs, but the fact that a company like Nissan is going to


assemble it here is a boost, not just to the company here, but to the


industry as a whole and people across the region. Coventry is open


for business and they can do car manufacturing here. Also in the city


you have the London Taxi Company, which used to be known as LTI. This


will be competition for them, won't it?


Yes, it will be. But this is what is going to happen anyway. It does not


matter if the production is taking place near or across the world. The


fact is, today, Nissan has decided to invest here in Coventry and that


means jobs for the people of Coventry.


You're watching Midlands Today from the BBC. Great to have you with us


this evening. Later, following that good news for Coventry. We'll be


assessing the impact in our region as the UK economy grows at its


fastest rate since 2007. And as the Christmas and New Year


flooding bill tops ?400 million, could this defence scheme in


Worcestershire provide a blueprint for the future?


A former chief nurse at Stafford Hospital has consented to being


struck off for exposing patients to danger during her time in charge.


Janice Harry agreed to the move after the Professional Standards


Authority for Health and Social Care launched a challenge to a tribunal's


decision only to issue her with a caution. With me now is our Health


Correspondent Michele Paduano. This is quite a turnaround, what's been


the reaction? It has not been jubilation. I spoke


to someone who said that many more adverse `` nurses should have been


investigated. Janice Harry Tried to allow her membership to lapse. This


agreement to be struck off has avoided another High Court hearing.


I think the message that it sends is that if you are in a senior


position, then you need to comply with the code of conduct. That


applies to all nurses, not just senior nurses. This decision is very


important and we are happy with the outcome.


What exactly has Janice Harry done, or not done?


She was said to have pleased patients at risk. In one example, 17


patients were being looked after by wonders overnight. Also, in accident


and emergency, the nurse on reception often had to go and help


out, leaving a receptionist to look after patients which was


unacceptable. Still not the end of all the recriminations over Stafford


Hospital? There are still health and safety


cases ongoing, and a fresh inquest into at least one death. 173 cases


are still being looked at by police. Janice Harry Is the only senior


member of staff who will be dealt with in this way.


A series of raids has taken place across Birmingham by police


targeting mobile phone theft and fraud. At one address alone,


there've been more than 200 claims for damaged smartphones over the


past two years. Our Special correspondent, Peter Wilson reports.


Not a phone call or a knock at the door. This was the first of a series


of dawn raids across Birmingham. Operation Network, more than 60


police officers. This is one of nine addresses targeted by West Midlands


Police, which also includes a mobile phone shop and a market stall. All


of those arrested today are suspected of handling stolen goods


are being involved in mobile phone fraud. Every month, 500 smartphones


are stolen in the West Midlands. 300,000 each year in the United


Kingdom. One address has handled in excess of 200 handsets in less than


18 months. The average cost of a smartphone could be ?700. That is a


huge amount of money. At the Operation Control Centre, the police


were checking on the details of each phone they'd seized. Effectively,


what is happening is that the fraudsters are sending stolen phones


back to the smartphone companies to replace them free of charge, and the


fraudsters then sell them. There is no such thing as a victimless crime.


This is the first operation of its kind by the police in the Midlands.


Detectives say it is part of an ongoing series of investigations


aimed at making life difficult for the smartphone fraudsters and


thieves. The private security company which


runs Oakwood Jail near Wolverhampton has promised to improve its


management after disturbances there earlier this month. A prison officer


had described the incident as a full scale riot with inmates shouting


threats from behind a barricade. At Westminster today, G4S defended the


prison in response to one MP who said Oakwood was known as jokewood.


I am absolutely confident that we will rectify the issues at the


prison to get it as good as any other prison be done. This is an


example of selectively picking examples to put us in a negative


light. A BBC investigation has found


migrant workers are being brought to Birmingham from London to work for


below the minimum wage. Secret recording in London and in


Birmingham has uncovered workers being paid as little as ?40 pounds a


day. Gareth Furby has this special report.


Every day on some streets in London, there are people, many eastern


European, waiting to be offered work as builders or casual labourers. But


I be paid at least the minimum wage? To find out, we asked to Macromedia


workers to go undercover. Both carried a hidden camera. `` two


Romanian. They heard others talk about low wages. I worked all day


for ?10. One of them was offered work moving mattresses. His pay at


the end of the day, ?40 for a seven hour day with only a five`minute


break. That works out at an hour, under the National minimum wage of


?6.31 an hour. You were just told to do things. Our second Romanian is


offered a week's work in Birmingham. But the man who is


hiring does not want to pay him much.


He is give an more than 100 miles, put to work at the back of a shop


and paid ?40. Which for nine hours of work comes to about ?4 70 an


hour. What does the government think of such low wages? It is a serious


breach of the law. I do not know all the details and circumstances, but


it must be investigated. The campaigning group migration watch


says such practices are driving down wages for all builders. It drives


down wages for ordinary working class people around the country.


This man said he agreed to pay are Labour ?40 for a single job and that


he did not work for nine hours. Our recording suggests that he does.


The insurance bill for the storms and flooding that damaged thousands


of homes in Britain over the Christmas and New Year period is set


to reach ?426 million. The Association of British Insurers said


today its members dealt with 174,000 claims for damage to homes,


businesses and cars. Environment Agency flood defences have clearly


helped here in the West Midlands, but could another scheme in


Worcestershire offer hope across the country? Joanne Writtle reports.


In heavy downpours, water from fields has caused flash flooding


down in the village of Harvington in Worcestershire. But, say villagers,


not any more. Two ponds have been dug and an orchard's been planted,


allowing water to soak into the ground. What we decided to do was to


create a buffer with these two small ponds. We also wanted to create


something that would absorb the water as well, and the orchards are


the natural thing to do. This was really restoring land to what it


used to be. When we had the orchards, we did not have the


flooding. This is how bad the problem was in 2004. This house on


low land is one of a handful which has flooded. Pat and George Pyatt


have spent ?20,000 on their own flood defences in the last 20 years.


They've been flooded six times. It used to be known as a house that


always floods, but now I want us to be known as a house that never


floods. We are covered, not only has all the work being done, but in


addition, we have also got flood defence barriers funded by DEFRA.


Obviously, we are very pleased with what has been done. I don't get


paranoid with the rain now, like I used to. Sewers have been upgraded,


and a culvert put in, with the orchard being the final piece of a


jigsaw to protect these homes, all funded by agencies including


councils and Severn Trent. The government has pledged ?150 million


to help schemes like this, but some environmental experts say it is


simply not enough. If you do more of these schemes, and what we call


upland flood management, you can prevent the flood water going into


the urban areas and getting into the rivers and causing worse flooding.


It is a bit of a win win. The orchard's now managed by a village


trust. In good weather, it'll provide parkland, and in bad, it


provides protection. This is our top story tonight. A


boost for Coventry, as Nissan announce a ?6 million deal to


assemble taxis in the city. Rebecca's waiting with your detailed


weather forecast. Also in tonight's programme.


Restored in Herefordshire, heading for France: the massive field gun


which will be used to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the


Great War. The economy now and figures out


today show that the UK had the strongest growth in Europe last


year. Our economy grew by 1.9% in 2013. That's the biggest rise since


2007 when the recession hit. But here in the Midlands, growth amongst


the manufacturing sector seems to be even higher. Our business


correspondent Peter Plisner has been to one Black Country firm which has


had to set up a new factory to meet soaring demand.


Capitalising on growth. Just a few weeks ago. This was an empty factory


unit. Now it's a busy molding plant with more machines still being


installed. This firm makes parts for a variety of car manufacturers


including Jaguar Land Rover. When sales hit record highs, companies


like this need to expand. We listened to our customers, the


economy is healthy, what better time to do it?


Expansion like this is not unusual here in the West Midlands


Manufacturing growth seems to be higher than the national average.


Companies like this need to meet additional demand by having extra


capacity and that also means creating new jobs. Technician Andrew


Dixon is one of the latest recruits. It's a great opportunity that was


not there before. I was doing a lot of travelling to and from work. This


is closer. There are also more jobs at the company's existing factory.


Here it is not just automotive that is fuelling demand.


Aerospace is proving very lucrative, particularly seating. We are doing


several projects for that. Also agricultural and construction


vehicles. So with full order books at many


manufacturers, just how fast are they growing here? It varies company


by company, product by`product and customer by customer. But I think


growth of up to 10% would be a good norm. More growth was being


celebrated in Coventry today where the company that made the Olympic


torch was handing one of them over to the council. It came at a time


when the workforce was around 110 people. We are now at 186 people and


counting. Fortunately, as a marketing tool, it demonstrates what


we can do. With many firms now expanding fast, that is bound to


mean further welcome falls in unemployment in future months.


One of the country's biggest music festivals is coming to Birmingham.


Wireless Festival, which for the past nine years has taken place in


London, today announced they're expanding to a second location at


Perry Park in Birmingham. Ben Sidwell's at the launch party for


the event which'll take place in July. So what does this mean for the


city, Ben? It is a big deal for the city. Until a couple of years ago,


Birmingham did not have a major music festival here. We are talking


45,000 people a day for three days. This is the launch party for the


festival in Birmingham. Some of the acts that will be playing Kanye


West, Bruno Mars, Ellie Goulding. By you brought it to Birmingham? We are


delighted to be in Birmingham. All the artists that are played in


the past have done well in the Midlands. This is the obvious place


to bring the festival. It is the next biggest market outside of


London. It is a very different festival. This is very much an


urban, city festival for people go home at the end of each night. We do


not have camping, that is one of our unique points of difference. Can it


work so close to London? Absolutely, we have got some really


good exclusives. We have got a great line`up. It deserves a wider


audience than just London. Tickets go on sale on Friday. The party here


is about to start. Football and Stoke City have had a


busy day in the transfer market. The Blackpool winger Tom Ince has been


at their training ground discussing a move. And they've also signed


striker Peter Odemwingie from Cardiff, with Kenwyne Jones moving


in the other direction. Last January, Odemwingie drove himself to


QPR to try and engineer a move away from West Bromwich Albion. He


finally got his wish in the summer with a switch to Cardiff City. And


now he's on the move again, this time to the Potteries.


The final touches are being put to a World War One field gun which will


be used to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the


Great War. It's been restored in Herefordshire and it'll be taken to


France this summer to commemorate the work of the British Cavalry in


1914 as seen in the film and stage play War Horse. Here's our arts


reporter Satnam Rana. The booming, deafening sound of a


13`pounder field gun used in the Great War by the British cavalry.


Over the last year and a half, workers here in Peterchurch in


Herefordshire has been restoring it. When you are restoring the gun, you


are bringing back to life those guys that went into action, all the ways


that the guns worked, the elevation gear, the sights and the breach to


make sure that the breach is working perfectly. That is what goes to make


the fun work properly. The gun will be taken in August to France as part


of the War Horse ride. It's being done to honour the cavalrymen who


took part in the opening of the war in 1914. The trenches did not come


in until well after Christmas 1914, right into 1915 and 1916 and, of


course, the horrors of Passiondale. But the first month of the war was a


very mobile, very active action, fought all the way from Mons to Le


Mans and this gun played its part. 100 years on, six horses and 35


riders will represent the journey made by cavalrymen in 1914. The 100


mile ride over five days will follow a route from Le Cateau to Nery,


retracing the footsteps of thousands of service men. As the anniversary


of the start of World War I approaches, the finishing touches


are being made to the 13 pounder field gun. When this gun makes his


journey across France, it will halt at significant battle sites, firing


salutes. Closer to home in Warwickshire, we can see it in


action during the battle proms at Ragley Hall in August.


It's time for the weather and I have a slight sense of foreboding as I


hand over to Rebecca. I just cannot bring any good news.


Things are starting to get colder now. But we have showers tonight and


tomorrow. Then we start to see those temperatures taking a bit of a


tumble for a short period of time. We do still have those showers


centred around that more pressure `` low pressure system. The breeze


associated with it will help things are little bit. It will help to


leave it `` to lift temperatures a little bit. Not a particularly cold


start tomorrow. But it will be a wet one. But the wind direction changes


to the east and it will feel very raw tomorrow. Some of those showers


could be wintry. Temperatures of around six Celsius, but feeling


chilly in that easterly wind. The Met Office have issued an early


yellow weather warning for ice tomorrow evening. We keep those


showers for the start of tomorrow night, the lost Ark to ease `` they


will start to ease and NBC a widespread frost. Temperatures


dropping close to freezing point for Thursday morning. It will be a cold


day on Thursday as well. We are appealing in `` we are pulling in


easterly winds from the continent. Snow showers through the day on


Thursday. But that will be a light dusting. It will be cold on


Thursday, but it is a brief cold snap because by Friday, heavy rain


is back again. Temperatures are recovering and the chance of


flooding for the weekend. Tonight's headlines from the BBC.


The UK economy grows at its fastest rate since 2007. The Chancellor says


it shows the government's plan is working.


And a boost for Coventry: Nissan's announced a ?6 million deal to


assemble taxis in the city. That was the Midlands Today. I'll be


back at ten o'clock with a live report from Stafford Hospital after


the former chief nurse there Janice Harry was struck off. Have a good


evening. Bye for now.


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