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Hello and welcome to Midlands Today. The headlines tonight...
125 years of history comes to the end of the road. Dunlop Motorsport's
Birmingham factory to close, with the loss of more than 240 jobs.
Absolutely dismayed. Goodyear Dunlop are treating the city and country
with contempt. Local MP Jack Dromey tells us it's a
disgrace and the company has gone back on its word.
Also tonight... More rain on the way ` are we
sacrificing farmers to save our towns and cities from flooding? This
is their business. They work to maintain it and they have one
chance, generally, to get a crop off the land.
Wolverhampton says a final goodbye to Steve Evans, who inspired
thousands with his battle with stomach cancer.
A first league win over Manchester United in 30 years means a happy
Monday in the Potteries. Couldn't believe it. Thoroughly deserved it.
Amazing. Both my sons are over the moon.
And yesterday, this was the first sign of any real sunshine we've had
for days, but by the looks of things, I doubt it'll last. As
though we need reminding ` there's more rain on the way. Full details
for you later. Good evening. 125 years of tyre
production by Dunlop in Birmingham is coming to an end, with the
closure of the company's motorsports plant. It had been hoped a deal
could have been struck to save the factory and more than 240 jobs.
Workers believed they were safe until September at least, but today
the US`owned tyre maker said it was pulling out of the City. Here's Bob
Hockenhull. A famous manufacturing name leaves
the West Midlands after a proud history in the region. And it's a
case of what a difference five years makes. This was what Dunlop
Motorsport had to say about its factory in Erdington in 2009. The
factory is full to capacity. With new business and new championships
around the world, and new teams in car and motorcycle racing, it is a
good news story for the automotive industry. That demand for good
quality motor sport tyres continues, but Dunlop is ending its long
association with Birmingham. Its American owners, Goodyear Tire and
Rubber Company, will switch the work to existing sites in France and
Germany. The company's Birmingham factory had been leased from a
commercial property company. That lease ends in September. And the 11
acre site has already been sold to Jaguar Land Rover, who want to
expand their neighbouring factory. The unions say workers have been let
down. They've accused the company of not being genuine in the search for
an alternative site. It was not a case of what was wrong with the
existing site, it was a case of we have two factories within the group
that have capacity and capability to make motorsport hires and in the
timescale we had, we were not able to build a new factory. Despite
personal intervention by Business Secretary Vince Cable, it seems
Dunlop is adamant it will leave Birmingham.
Earlier this afternoon I spoke to Jack Dromey, the MP for Birmingham
Erdington. He gave me his reaction to the news of the closure.
It is outrageous. Goodyear Dunlop is treating our city and our country
with contempt. For days ago, they agreed they would examine all
options for the future to remain in Birmingham. Four days later, they
have torn up the pledge they made. It is absolutely wrong that a
decision made 3600 miles away in a high old `` in Ojai office
threatening Birmingham workers with redundancy. A lot say they have
worked closely with local authorities and agencies to identify
a local site but unfortunately, no other site was available. Is that
your understanding? Not true. Six months ago, an alternative site was
identified three miles away. Dunlop said at the time it is a good side.
They have been offered financial assistance to relocate to that
site. They said that they would seriously examined dooming it ``
doing it for days ago. Now they want to work away from Birmingham. Is it
a done deal, is there any chance the jobs could be kept in Birmingham? We
will not allow Goodyear Dunlop to terror up the pledge `` to terror up
the pledge they made four days ago. It would be trade the pledge they
made but also the commitment they made two generations of Birmingham
workers who have built the success of the motor sport business. They
deserve better now. What can be done? It sounds as though the
company has made its mind up and the jobs will be transferred to Europe,
which suggests they feel the jobs would be more effectively carried
out in Europe? The company has a history of closing factories here in
Britain and moving production to continent. We intend to step
pressure up on Dunlop over the coming weeks and months. We're not
going to allow them to walk away from the city. They owe Birmingham a
commitment, because it was Birmingham workers that built the
success of the business. Well our business correspondent
Peter Plisner is outside the Dunlop factory now. Peter what's been the
reaction there today? There is anger here as well. Unions and workers are
devastated. The unions have accused Dunlop of walking away from its
obligations. They have accused the company of not being honest. They
have referred to the meeting last night between Vince Cable `` last
week between Vince Cable and the company. They say that they gave a
commitment to look more seriously at sites in Birmingham and four days
later, they decided to announce the closure. They seem to have capacity
elsewhere in the network, in France and Germany. The factory site will
be redeveloped pretty quickly, within? That is certainly the
understanding. I spoke to Jaguar Land Rover. They said there are
plans for the site are under development and that there are a
number of options being considered. They are expanding in all directions
from the Castle Bromwich factory. They have taken over the side of the
cinema, a cat had `` and a car park is being developed. New models are
coming out all the times of the capacity is needed. What are the
prospects for the Dunlop workers who will lose their jobs? It seems
unlikely that many will transfer to Germany or France. Some may be
redeployed within the Dunlop factories in the UK. There will be a
three`month consultation period, which point some options may be
available. I think the majority face a redundancy, it has to be said.
Coming up later in the programme... The legal drug guaranteed to burn
fat, but it raises the body temperature so much it can have
fatal consequences. There are 23 flood warnings and two
severe flood warnings across the region tonight. And today there was
a stark warning that we could be forced to choose between protecting
the countryside or protecting towns. Farmers say that could cost them
dear. Our reporter Cath Mackie is in Worcester for us tonight. Cath, how
concerned are farmers you've talked to today?
I spoke to one earlier whose land has been underwater since before
Christmas, so he is very concerned. There is a pilot scheme in
Shropshire between farmers and the Environment Agency, looking at the
best way of maintaining waterways across farmland. It is hoped it will
offer a national solution. Steven Watkins drives through
floodwater at his farm at Severn Stoke in Worcestershire. A quarter
of his land, 400 acres, is underwater. The boat on the horizon
is sitting on top of the swollen River Severn. The farmland is
protected by a man`made flood defence. It was put in in the 1960s
to protect the villages along this stretch of the river. At that time,
the river was dredged frequently to allow the tankers to get up. 20
years ago, we had no more maintenance and no more dredging of
the river and we are seeing the effects. We spend a reasonable
amount every year on dredging but a lot of this is the responsibility of
the owners of the rivers themselves. We have tried to make it easier for
them to carry out the work themselves. This is a field of
Swedes that were destined for the supermarket, but it is not going
anywhere. It's completely waterlogged. Now, it's not the first
time this field has been flooded, it is after all by the river, but what
the problem is now is it's happening more often and the water is hanging
around far longer than it used to. As it is in Somerset, where people
trapped by floodwater are being helped by amphibious vehicles sent
by a Staffordshire firm. But back at Sheepcote Farm, a gauge alerts the
locals to any threat of flooding. So, the Red Line is danger?
Absolutely. So what's the answer? The head of the Environment Agency
says a stark choice may be needed between protecting the town or the
country, prompting calls for more co`operation. Members do not want to
see householders flooded. They do not want to see their farmland
flooded. This is their business, they work to maintain it. They have
one chance to get a crop off the land. It is about working together.
In the meantime, it's an anxious wait. At Minsterworth in
Gloucestershire, the flood banks have been breached three times in
three days. But there's some respite ` in Ironbridge, the flood barriers
have been taken down. Tonight along the River Severn, in Shrewsbury the
barriers are in place. In Bewdley, they are staying put. The
Environment Agency say they will review it in the mooring. The flood
barriers at Ironbridge maybe up before the end of the week.
We will have the full forecast later.
Road tunnels will shut again this summer in Birmingham, it has been
confirmed. The A38 tunnels will be shut from 10pm on Friday the 18th
July until 6am on Monday the first September. The city council says
it's to allow the second phase of essential repairs to take place.
A Staffordshire MP has described a newspaper article about him as
despicable journalism. Aidan Burley, seen here at a Nazi`themed stag
party, was last month found by his party to be stupid, but not
anti`semitic," for his role in the evening. The Cannock Chase MP made
the comments after a Mail on Sunday article suggested he hadn't faced
fair scrutiny from the Conservative Party.
The online retailer Amazon says 330 workers at its Rugeley distribution
centre have been switched from temporary to permanent contracts
since October. The company has created almost 1,000 permanent jobs
across the country in the last three months.
Visiting restrictions are in place at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital
and Alexandra Hospital in Redditch following an outbreak of norovirus
over the weekend. Anyone who's had sickness or diarrhoea in the last 48
hours is being asked not to visit patients.
The family of a student who died after taking a fat`burning drug want
tougher action from the government. DNP raises the body temperature so
much it can be fatal. Telford's former world champion boxer Richie
Woodhall knows a lot about keeping his weight down and keeping fit. For
tonight's Inside Out, he's been looking at the use of DNP by
slimmers, but also by body`builders in the Midlands.
Chris took DNP, Sarah was losing weight. Now their families are
living life without them. Luke is a Midlands teenager and fitness
fanatic. He has been using DNP behind his parents' back. After the
first few days my temperature really went up. I started sweating
constantly. Your breathing is rapid. You can't sleep because you
are constantly sweating. The Food Standards Agency has already been
talking tough. It can't prosecute anyone selling DNP to burn fat. We
still managed to get hold of DNP. Is the law working? We have closed or
altered 40 websites around the world to stop this industrial chemical
coming in and being used by people. Jeff and Jean Houston said that is
not enough. Their daughter died after taking DNP and likely's
parents, they did not know she was taking it. We found out after she
died. The police found the pills in her room. It was only about three
months later that we found out they were DNP capsules. We realised that
there was nothing they could do to help in hospital. Once you taking it
`` once you have taken it, it is irreversible, there is nowhere to
go. It is horrendous. It is what killed our daughter. We loved her
very much. They want the Home Secretary to listen. It raises the
metabolic rate and is incredibly dangerous and therefore, should be a
controlled substance. While changes to the law will take time, the
meeting with Luke has made a difference. I will stay away with
it. It seems Luke has learned his lesson. They users have not been so
lucky. `` other users. Also on tonight's Inside Out
programme, I'm asked to down a large glass of wine and then get behind
the wheel. With nearly half of drivers admitting to being
distracted by their phone, we tested whether I was safer driving after a
drink, or with a phone in my hand. It was a simulator, not a car on the
road. You can find out how I got on tonight at 7.30 here on BBC One `
the results might surprise you. Our top story tonight...
125 years of history comes to the end of the road. Dunlop Motorsport's
Birmingham factory is to close, with the loss of more than 240 jobs.
Your detailed weather forecast to come shortly with Shefali. Also in
tonight's programme... The future of professional
basketball in Birmingham is on a knife edge, the Knights desperate to
end a run of 19 defeats. And Wolverhampton says its final
goodbye to Steve Evans, who shared his fight with cancer with thousands
online. We always knew he was who he was, how he acted and how he
played, that was him. If you have a story you think we
should be covering on Midlands Today, we'd like to hear from you.
We are also on Facebook and Twitter. Let's turn to sport. Stoke City fans
still basking in the afterglow of victory ` not just any old win.
Good things come to those who wait. For 29 years, Stoke City have waited
patiently for this moment. The moment they finally won a League
game against Manchester United. Two goals from Charlie Adam clinched
their famous victory. So it was no surprise to learn the Potteries were
still buzzing with excitement today, as Ian Winter reports For the past
seven years, Ann Johnson has been selling the Sentinel in the centre
of Stoke. Red hair, red scarf, red Herring! How happy does the score
make you feel? not very happy. You never are! I am a man United fan.
She supports Man United. Charlie Adam scored two goals. His first
might have been deflected but his second was the perfect stride. It
left Stoke celebrating a league win over United for the first time since
Boxing Day, 1984, when Mark was 21 and a striker with the red Devils.
There comes a point when we expect Charlie to score goals like that. I
see it in training every day. He has got a clean strike. I am pleased
that Stoke one. I like to see the little guy come out on top. What did
you make a? Amazing. My husband and my sons are over the moon. Really
thrilled. Villa were taking the lead at
Garrison Park, but the first`half goal was not good enough. Edison
Park. As for West Brom, they seized on a howler to win a draw against
Liverpool. Back in Hanley, Sir Stanley smiled.
29 years they have waited. He would have been the proudest man in the
Potteries on Saturday afternoon. Away from the Premier League, there
was a fans' protest at Birmingham City against the current owner.
The fans have lost patience with the current regime and the lack of money
at the club. The Blues Trust held a banner at Saturday's game which
read, "Delay no more." Their ultimate aim is for the current
owners to sell the club. And it's a big month for the club with an EGM
on Wednesday and the verdict in Yeung's trial on the 28th. On the
pitch, they were losing 3`1 to Derby but it finished 3`3 on Saturday.
The former Warwickshire director of cricket Ashley Giles is a leading
contender to take over as head coach of the England Test team. Giles is
already in charge of the one day and Twenty20 sides. He says he would be
"very interested" in replacing Andy Flower who resigned from the test
side after the Ashes. And today the chairman of the ECB confirmed Giles
was a "strong candidate" for the role.
Basketball, and the director of the Birmingham Knights says they'll fold
unless attendances rise. The club was formed last summer and is half
way through a first season in the top flight. But it's proving
tough... 19 defeats and no victories. So could they turn that
around against bottom club Surrey? I went along on Saturday night to find
out. These are nervous times for the
Birmingham Knights. They've yet to win a game this season. And the
finances are creaking. The message to basketball fans is clear. Back
them, or lose them. We really do need the city and local businesses
and new fans to start coming along and supporting us, or we won't be
here next season. We should be devastated for Birmingham. We've got
professional basketball back. The venue has been the biggest problem.
The Knights are based at North Solihull Sports Centre. It's in
Chelmsley Wood, and being away from the city centre makes it hard to
attract crowds. But those who do go are passionate ` especially when
they've got two sons in the side. They are competing, and that is all
we want. The fact that in the second quarter there was a good points
tally, that is nice in any sport. I am a huge fan of Birmingham Bullets
and I was disappointed when they disappeared so I was pleased when
basketball came back. Saturday's game against Surrey gave the Knights
a great chance of their first win of the season. But the Knights lost
again 89`80. Their coach is still optimistic about the future. The
results have not gone the way we wanted it to but when you have been
looking at the schools and universities, that is all positive.
Birmingham would love to follow the example of the league leaders,
Worcester Wolves. Worcester play at their University's new arena, and
Birmingham have an agreement with their university to move into a new
arena in 2016. But that's still two years away. And if the Knights can't
improve their finances, they won't last that long.
Zac purchase from Tewkesbury, the rower, has announced his retirement
today. He won medals in ageing and London. `` in Beijing.
Steve Evans shared his fight with terminal stomach cancer on radio, TV
and online, always showing "courage, humour and grace". In one of his
final tweets, Steve thanked all his followers saying, "You have helped
us get through some very dark and tricky times". His story touched the
lives of people from all walks of life and all over the world. The
Olympic gold medallist Matthew Pinsent described Steve as "funny
and dignified to the end". Mike Pearson tweeted from America that
Steve's journey was "truly the bravest thing I've ever heard,"
while on Facebook, Louise Ransberry, who attended today's service, said
"what a fabulous send off ` funny, emotional, entertaining." Tributes
at today's service in Wolverhampton were led by the comedian and family
friend, Frank Skinner, as Ben Godfrey reports.
At half past twelve, parts of Wolverhampton city centre fell
silent. 500 mourners gathered to celebrate the life of a man of many
talents. I have followed him through his journey, through sad times. He
was a good guy. I am showing my respect to day. He was
inspirational. Steve Evans touched people with his honesty and humour.
Here was a man revealing the hard truth about life with terminal
stomach cancer. The 52`year`old council building surveyor, part`time
comedian and magician, leaves behind his wife Septina, and their
daughters Meg and Lauren. The only thing we can do, and it does not
have to be a specific thing, is continued living the way he taught
us. If we do that, then his legacy lives on. Steve spent a decade
managing the acts at the Civic Hall. This was the first funeral service
in the venue's history. One of those paying tribute was the comedian,
Frank Skinner, a family friend. He said Steve was an amazing guy, a man
of great intelligence and cleverer than he looked. He added, he was
Wolverhampton through and through, but I forgive him that. Also among
the mourners were former colleagues at Wolverhampton City Council, some
of his 26,000 Twitter followers and those who'd helped Steve to tell his
unique story. There is a familiar play called Death Of A Salesman, and
the lead character judges people by how many turn up to his funeral. If
that is a good assessment of a man's life, this was an incredible
life. Steve asked for donations to be made to Compton Hospice because
of the support given to him at home by its nurses. ?15,000 has been
raised so far. Such a sizeable sum will go a long way to help provide
care in the future for families affected. The furthest away donation
was Zimbabwe. It shows love. Steve Evans called his fight against
cancer "a journey shared by loved ones". Today, it was apparent there
were many more of them than perhaps he realised.
Truly inspirational. Earlier we saw the continuing flooding problem, is
there any respite from the rain on the horizon Shefali?
There is some respite. Any respite is going to be welcome at this
stage, especially to those in flooded areas. We have got drier
days this week. They are interspersed with wetter periods.
For the first half of the week, the wettest and windiest period will be
on Wednesday. That is quite a wild day and there are warnings in force
at the moment for gusts of up to 50 mph. That will cause travel
disruption. There will be rain to come with that and it could amount
to 20 or 30 millimetres, about an inch of rain, on top of what we have
already got. Just to point out that we have numerous flood warnings in
force across the region. We have two severe flood warnings for
Gloucestershire. It is a changing picture so if you want to keep up to
date, the best thing to do is contact this phone number. This is
what is affecting us in the immediate future. There is a cold
front heading in from the west. It does not have the additional baggage
of low pressure, so it will not be as bad as this deep area of low
pressure heading our way on Wednesday. There is a lot of rain
along it. It is a narrowband heading in this evening from the West,
producing rain in some places. It heads off to the east, followed by
showers. We have got dry conditions to end the night and under those
clearer skies, temperatures near freezing in more reward areas and
over higher land. We could see a touch of ice and frost as well. For
towns and cities, temperatures above freezing. Tomorrow is also a day of
respite. Dry weather and showers, and sunshine as well. Temperatures
to about eight Celsius. The rain is going to arrive tomorrow night and
it will be heavy. Tonight's headlines from the BBC...
State schools as good as private ones ` that's the ambition, says the
Education Secretary. 125 years of history comes to the
end of the road ` Dunlop Motorsport's Birmingham factory to
close, with the loss of 240 jobs. Moore at ten o'clock. Goodbye.