31/01/2014 Midlands Today


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That's all from the BBC News at Six, so it's goodbye from me, and on BBC


Hello and welcome to Midlands Today. The headlines: police to introduce a


nice surrender to get weapons of city streets. We have seen a slight


increase over the last 12 months. Tonight the family of a teenager


stabbed to death calls for tougher sentences on knife crime. Also


tonight... I am live where the river seven continues to rise and should


peak overnight. I'll be here later with all the details on how much


rain we can expect, and why strong winds are just going to add to the


problem. Your full weekend forecast coming up later. ?1.2 million, the


cost of the new library of Birmingham website. It was not put


out to tender. The council says it is value for money. Heidi finally


gets the music breakthrough. She beat 80,000 people to win a singing


competition. `` 18,000. Good evening. The Environment Agency


has issued three severe warnings for the River Severn in Gloucestershire


and there's another 21 warnings in place in the Midlands. Flood


barriers have been erected along the River Severn in Shrewsbury,


Ironbridge and Bewdley, where our reporter Ben Godfrey is this


evening. So, Ben, how are things looking there tonight? We have had


between ten and 20 millimetres of rain today. The barriers have been


installed. They are three feet high at the moment. More rain is planned


and that is of concern. How concerned are you by the levels here


tonight? The levels have been rising here all day. Nothing to concern us


at the moment. Probably another but also to go. They are doing their job


at the moment. Let's talk about the River Severn in Gloucestershire


tonight with some severe weather warnings in place. Some high tides


are connected with the surge of water. That is potentially quite


significant. What kind of a risk will it be tomorrow? It is very


complicated to predict what will happen. There is the combination of


high tides, fresh water and sewage or meeting together. In some areas


it may get over the top of flood defences. I know you are concerned


about days ahead. It is a very unsettled outlook. More rain on


Monday and Tuesday. The rivers are already high and the catchments are


saturated. Through next week we could see levels building again. You


can see the levels are very high at the moment. There are pins down here


which are covered. These areas are used to being filled with water at


times of flooding. The message they want to get across is that they are


open for business this weekend and people can access the area. Rebecca


will have the full forecast later. You can keep up`to`date with the


latest flood warnings, travel news and weather on your local radio


station this weekend. A Burton on Trent brewery switches a new


production line on. Happy Chinese New Year. The campaign for an


archway to mark Birmingham 's Chinese quarter. The family of a


teenager stabbed to death after a fight in Birmingham are calling for


tougher sentences for those found guilty of knife crime. 15`year`old


Hassan Mahmood died last summer. Two people have been stabbed in the city


in the past 24 hours, one of them fatally. Today West Midlands Police


said they would be introducing a knife surrender as a way of getting


knives off the streets of the city. This man knows the true cost of


knife crime. His 15`year`old nephew was stabbed to death in Birmingham


last July by another teenager. The whole process of seeing the body and


going to hospital and having to bury him. It was just terrible. The


17`year`old killer was found guilty of murder this week. When he is


sentenced next month, the judge must send a message. You'll Athey need to


give out life sentences. They should give them full life sentences. That


is the only way to deter them from doing it. Six months on, knife crime


afflicts Birmingham. Police were called to reports of a disturbance.


The 31`year`old victim was rushed to hospital but died there later.


Yesterday afternoon, a 17`year`old boy was stabbed and seriously


injured. A 15`year`old is being questioned. The community lurker and


part`time radio presenter says more needs to be done. We have asked for


a life amnesty. We want better education in schools. People must be


made more aware of the consequences of carrying knives. A spate of


killings in Birmingham last autumn caused horror and revulsion. Police


concede it has been a bad 12 months but say overall they are making


progress against knife crime. We have seen a slight increase. It is


hard to put contacts to rent `` a context around each and everyone of


them. We need to redouble efforts with everyone. To that end, the


police are planning a nice surrender, a variation on the


amnesty. The killer will be sentenced in four weeks time.


Birmingham City Council has confirmed tonight it's reviewing its


?120 million a year contract with service company Capita. Since 2006,


Capita has run the city's IT, call centre and billing services. The


contract was extended to 2021. But tonight the council say they don't


know how much it would cost to break the Service Birmingham contract.


Capita has been criticised for charging over a million pounds to


build the new Library of Birmingham website. But the council insist it


is value for money. Our Correspondent David Gregory`Kumar


has been investigating. A modern library needs a website,


but did Birmingham's cost a lot more than it needed to? FOI requests


reveal the new Library of Birmingham website cost ?1.2 million pounds and


an extra ?190,000 a year to maintain. Compare that to another


shiny new library, The Hive in Worcester, their website cost


?10,000. And Shropshire Council say the ongoing costs of their library


website are just over 1000 pounds Even if you compare Birmingham to


another new UK superlibrary the costs are high. There is not much


colour in it. It is simple and does the job. It is keeping the costs


town. Why do you want to keep costs down? We cannot afford it. That is


honest. We cannot afford to do that. Austerity has made us change the way


we things. Even if you compare Birmingham with another UK super


library, the costs are still high. Liverpool Council spent ?50m on


their refurbished Central Library. But they told us the website cost


them four hours of staff time updating pictures and tweaking text.


Like Shropshire it was all done in house. Birmingham out sourced the


job to a company called Capita. And the Library website is by no means


the biggest contract Capita has with Birmingham Council. They also have a


multi`million pound deal to run IT, call centre and billing services.


Capita Service Birmingham. But the details are secret and critics want


it released. Way too much money has been spent. It could be done at half


the cost. That contract could have been cancelled 18 months ago. I


could have been wrong. Capita told us they agreed publication back in


October last year. The council say today it could be published by the


end of February. Only then will it be possible to tell if the


multi`million pound Capita Service Birmingham contract is a good deal


for the city. I spoke to the Deputy Leader of


Birmingham City Council, Ian Ward earlier this afternoon. I asked him


if the contract to design and run the website for the Library of


Birmingham was put out to tender. Well, this contract was market


tested. You need to remember it was not a contract that I set up. It was


set up by the previous Conservative ` Liberal Democrat administration.


When I came into office, the first thing we did was to have it


independently validated by an outside organisation. Their report


confirmed the contract was value for money for the city council and that


there was value in continuing with it. We have to deliver more for less


money and that is why we are renegotiated the contract. Where are


you with the renegotiation? The core contract costs ?15 million. We have


said we will reduce that by ?20 million for the next financial


year. That is built into the budget. We are negotiating to see what


exactly that will mean. There will be a ?20 million reduction. At the


same time, we are considering all the other possible options. The


detail of the spend, the breakdown of that, it is not available to your


taxpayers. Published accounts are available. The 2013/2014 numbers


will come out. The details of the contract we have with Catheter, many


of those details of commercially sensitive and are not published.


Having said all of that, we are going to publish the contract on the


website. All of the commercially sensitive information will be


redacted. When will that be? By the end of February. The contract is due


to end in 2021, how much will it cost to terminate it early? There is


no figure. We are involved in negotiations as to what the figure


will be. Said there was no figure put on an early termination? There


was no figure, no. We have agreement about termination of the contract.


There are various conditions set around that. It would not be normal


to put an actual number into the contract. There is an agreement in


place about early termination? There is. We have driven value out of this


contract. We need to be clear as to what is the best way forward and the


most cost`effective way for the council. A former head teacher from


Stoke`on`Trent has pleaded guilty to a series of sex offences. Robert


Haines, who held the post at Thistley Hough School in Penkhull


has admitted two counts of sexual activity with a child while in a


position of trust, five of making indecent images of children, and a


further charge of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual


activity. He'll be sentenced later. Detectives are questioning a


22`year`old man in connection with the murder of a woman in the


Worcestershire village of Hanbury. School Road has been closed all day


as forensic officers carry out their investigations. Officers were called


to a house yesterday at 4:35pm. They attended a female in her 40s who had


suffered a number of stab wounds. The lady died at the scene. Two


companies in the West Midlands have announced major investments today.


The Burton`based brewery Marston's has opened a ?7.4 million pound new


bottling line. And flybe confirmed it is making Birmingham Airport its


largest UK base. The company is introducing seven new routes out of


the airport and creating 50 new jobs. What we have done is make sure


we are focusing on the areas of growth and good profit. In areas of


the country which are not so great we have had to change our programme


a bit. This is a good news story for the West Midlands and Birmingham. In


Burton, the multi million pound investment in Marstons also


benefited local companies who built the new bottling line. It comes as


overall beer sales have risen, and are at their strongest rate for a


decade. Here's our Staffordshire reporter. Burton's MP switching on


the new line which will fill 18,000 bottles of beer an hour. It's an


investment which comes as the brewery's gearing up for increased


production. We are seeing a real resurgence. Drinkers are recognising


that cask ale is interesting, flavoursome and great to drink. They


are coming back to beer. They are also getting new drinkers. It is


great to see women, who are recognising how wonderful British


beer is. In the last year there has been an increase in the number of


points sold. More of us are drinking beer at home and it is due to the


good weather in the summer. And it's that increase in supermarket sales


that's behind the building of this new line. This line will be running


for I suspect well over 25`year is. This really does secure the jobs for


the company in Burton on Trent and the people who work for Marstons.


Other firms in Burton have benefitted too. This is Briggs, a


company that's been in the town since 1740. It makes stainless steel


tanks and has supplied the brewery with new equipment for the


production line. When we won the project, we all acknowledge this is


a very important contract, not only for bricks but for the town. The


economy has suffered over the last few years. Being supported by


Marstons with the order was very important. This line's now up and


running seven days a week, continuing the long and proud


tradition that makes Burton Britain's brewing capital.


The Prime Minister 's right`hand man at Westminster has dismissed claims


that the economic recovery is limited to London. The Parliamentary


private sector is of David Cameron said the study does not paint an


accurate picture of the economy in the West Midlands but is showing


signs of recovery. We are seeing a massive growth in the Midlands. In


my constituency you can see unemployment down to 1.9%. You can


see investment with Jaguar Land Rover building a new engine plant.


Manufacturing is starting to plough ahead. In the Midlands, we are in a


premier position to benefit. And you can see more on this on the Sunday


Politics at 11am on Sunday with Elizabeth Glinka. This is our top


story tonight: Police to introduce a knife surrender to get weapons off


the city streets ` as the family of a teenager stabbed to death calls


for tougher sentences. Rebecca's standing by with the weekend


forecast. A warning it'll be wet. Also in tonight's programme... It


could be their biggest deal in the Midlands on transfer deadline day as


Stoke City agree a deal with Sunderland for Lee Cattermole.


It's Chinese New Year and a campaign is being launched tonight to raise


money to pay for an arch to mark the entrance to Birmingham's Chinese


quarter. It's one of the few major cities in the UK without one.


Lindsay Doyle is in Chinatown tonight, so Lindsay how much could


this all cost? It will cost an astonishing ?1 million. I am told


the Chinese community is confident it can raise that money. Birmingham


is one of the last cities in the country with a large, vibrant


community not to have an arch. Liverpool, London and Manchester all


have one and Newcastle have two. I am joined by the chair of the


Chinese Festival community. Apologies. We seem to have a problem


down in the Chinese quarter. Now, it is transfer deadline day. We only


have a few hours left. Dan has the details. Stoke City have agreed a


fee with Sunderland for the midfielder Lee Cattermole in what's


likely to be the biggest deal in the Midlands on transfer deadline day.


But while Premier League clubs across the country have been


spending millions lower down the divisions it's all about trying to


find a bargain. It has been one of those days when the assistant


managers get to meet the media because the managers are too busy


doing deals. This is Lee Cattermole, the man Stoke City believes will add


extra bite to their midfield and beef up their bid to avoid


relegation. He has attributes which can enhance any club. He is a good


footballer as well. He is certainly a player that can bring good


qualities to any side. Signing a new player in the January transfer


window can be a massive gamble. This month, Premier League clubs have


spent ?100 million foot at a very different story in the championship


for Birmingham City. When Southampton release Aaron Martin,


they snapped him up. There is no money to spend on wages. At West


Bromwich, what did Pepe Mel make of it? Maybe two, three new players


here. Midlands clubs have not exactly been splashing the cash. The


main moves have been away from him. Wolves are a classic example of


that. Lee Griffiths, one of three strikers who left today. Beyond


cygnets and has gone on loan to a Norwegian club.


Three strikers out the door. What about the ones that got away? There


are bound to be dozens of those. Wes Houlihan, midfielder with Norwich


City. They were reluctant to sell because Paul Lambert did not want to


sell to him. We thought West Bromwich Albion might come into that


that has come to nothing as well. The transfer window stays open until


11pm. All those that do go through will be listed on the BBC Sport


website. And let's not forget it's a big weekend for Rugby with the start


of the Six Nations. And what a prospect for Gloucester's Jonny May.


The biggest game of his life, without a doubt. He needs to play


for England against France in Paris. He is 23 and a winger. He says he


just cannot wait. It is probably the biggest thing for a World Cup in


terms of rivalry between the home nations and the way the nation gets


behind each of its team. It will be amazing with France being such a


passionate Nason. `` nation. I have heard the stadium is amazing. I


think he is right. Let's get back to the Chinese quarter. Hopefully we


have re`established the line. I am joined by Jeffrey from the Chinese


Festival community in Birmingham. We were talking about the magnificent


arch, what will it look like? It will go across the road. We are


starting to fund raise tonight. It is a vibrant area. Hopefully


businesses will get behind it and also the Birmingham public to buy a


brick and we will get an arch built in Birmingham. Wonderful! We deserve


one. What plans to rehab for Sunday? It is a free event. The street is


shut and a fairground. Come down and enjoy yourself. All that remains to


be said is to wish you a happy New Year from the Chinese quarter. Just


as Heidi Browne was on the verge of giving up on her dream of being a


singer, after ten years of trying and accepting a job in engineering,


her path's taken an unexpected twist. She beat more than 8,000


people to take the Open Mic UK title. Ben Sidwell's been to meet


the Shropshire singer`song writer. A warning his report contains flashing


images. The winner is... Heidi. You can see on the video, I am walking


out in astonishment. Then there is all confetti. My friends were


telling me about what happened. I was like, did it? Did it? Ten days


have completely changed her life. Don't touch my hair... I was meant


to be starting a new job, a sensible career path. I had to bring up and


say, sorry, I cannot do it. I need to devote my time now to music.


Heidi joins the list of winners of Open Mic UK, the most successful


being Birdy, who's gone on to have chart success, including a top ten


album. I sat next to Jake Bugg and he got picked and I was not. Each


time I was the one that was not pushed through. I was starting to


lose heart. This reignited my belief. White rabbit she comes from


a musical background. Her dad is a successful session musician. She has


done everything herself. She is very driven. She has written loads of


songs and has worked really hard. As the winner when she gets ?5,000


towards the development of her career and is set to record her


first single. She's also hoping to tour Europe later this year.


I am sure I am not the only one getting very wet and windswept


today. Rebecca's here with the weather. A warning, she's got a lot


of warnings! Plenty of hazards to come over the


next 48 hours. The first one is ice. Then we move on to strong winds and


some showers by Saturday. Through Sunday, we start to get a brief


respite as things calm down but only for one day. Then we have got


attention turning to flooding. Three severe flood warnings in place


across the Midlands. 21 flood warnings and more than 30 flood


alerts. This rain is coinciding with high spring tides to mark and a


storm surge. If you are concerned, that is the number... The rain is


slowly moving away. Behind that the air is colder. Some could turn a bit


wintry, particularly over high ground. Then the risk of some frost.


The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for ice. As we wake


up tomorrow morning, it'll be treacherous and assert. It has all


changed. The yellow weather warning will be. Winds in Hereford and


Shropshire. There will be gusts of up to 60 miles an hour. This will


clear away and they will rattle through the region. Most of the


showers will be scrawny through the day. The possibility of some hail.


Rather unpleasant with the strong winds and rain. Temperatures


hovering between six and eight Celsius. By Sunday, things do come


down briefly. We will start to see perhaps a little bit of sunshine


through Sunday afternoon. It would still be a breezy day. Temperatures


again hovering around seven, eight Celsius. It does not last. By


Monday, we have this next band of rain moving in. There is another


yellow weather warning on that as well and it stays and settled into


the new working week. Tonight's headlines from the BBC... Meredith


Kercher's murder. As guilty verdicts are reinstated for Amanda Knox and


her former boyfriend, she says she will never willingly return to


Italy. Sandbags at the ready. Police to introduce a knife


surrender to get weapons off the city streets, as the family of a


teenager stabbed to death calls for tougher sentences. That was the


Midlands Today. I'll be back at 10pm with the latest ins and outs as the


transfer deadline draws to a close. Have a great evening. Goodbye.


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