06/03/2014 Midlands Today


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Yard's handling of the case. That's all from the BBC News


Hello, and welcome to Midlands Today.


The headlines tonight: Exports reach record levels ` export growth here


is higher than anywhere elsd in the UK. The value of goods made here


reached nearly ?30 billion last year.


Our companies are feeling confident, and that is what is driving the


growth. Also, tonight: A court backs a


widow's fight for the chancd to have a baby using her dead husband's


sperm. The improvements causing ch`os `


Coventry commuters stuck for hours and the roadworks will last three


years. They have made an utter mess. They


need to be shot. Jonathan Trott will start the season


for Warwickshire, after leaving the Ashes tour early with a


stress`related illness. And the sun may have disappdared for


the time being, but the temperatures are rising and there's great news


for next week. Hear all abott it in the forecast later.


Good evening. The value of exports from the West


Midlands has reached record levels. Figures released today also show


that export growth here is the highest anywhere in the UK. The


value of West Midlands`made goods being sold abroad reached ?29.6


billion in 2013, a rise of 08 % on the previous year. Much of the rise


is down to the success of companies such as Jaguar Land Rover and JCB,


but all over the region firls are reporting strong order books and the


prospect of new jobs. Here's our business correspondent Peter


Plisner. Mixing sealants so the engines in


our cars don't leak. This Coventry firm has a big share of the market,


and following a decline in car`making, here, virtually


everything it makes now goes abroad. We started following them to Asia,


the UK, in Europe, as well, and in Korea which is a big market.


In addition to making sealants for engines, they also make the plant


machinery to apply them. It's another area of big export growth.


All the books are full for the next two years.


Many of the manufacturers fhnished in last week's Made in the Lidlands


special, highlighting exports as the reason they are growing. Colpanies


like JCB and Jaguar Land Rover are amongst the biggest exporters in the


region. But manufacturers aren't the only ones going abroad ` thhs


Worcester`based technology firm provides postcode and address


searches for websites all over the world.


Here, growth in exports is helping to grow the company.


As a technology business, wd are not restricted by the size of otr


factory. We can add more servers around the world to accommodate


growth, and to do it really quickly. Poring over the figures, thhs


morning, it's all good news for the man in charge of helping to boost


exports for the West Midlands. I think we've got great companies


here in the West Midlands ` manufacturing is at the heart of


what we do. Those companies, and the products they make, work re`lly well


in the overseas market. With strong order books boosted by


exports, it is perhaps not surprising that the latest survey of


West Midlands' manufacturers says that more than half of them are


expecting to create new jobs over the next six months.


And Peter joins me, now. So, why are exports here rising so much fast


than other regions in the country? One word ` automotives. That is


counting for almost three qtarters of exports in 2013. That sector rose


27% compares to previous ye`rs. That success is driving success hn other


companies, particularly those in the automotive supply chain.


Away from cars ` what are other sectors are doing well in this


region? Manufacturing are doing incredibly


well. A lot of what is being made is not directly being exported, but is


assembled and then sent abroad. That is technically an export, btt is not


showing up in these figures. Food products are also up 22%. Mhnerals


and fuels are up 21%. Bever`ges are up 11%. Breweries are exporting


more. All sectors saw a risd from 2013.


And where are all these goods going to?


Asia is up quite a bit. That is the target market for it Jaguar Land


Rover. North America is showing very strong rises. Also, in the Liddle


East and North Africa. The T is also rising 8%. `` the EU.


Coming up later in the programme: Keeping business afloat ` how


traders in Ironbridge have been helping each other to recovdr from


the floods. We've been stuck here for h`lf an


hour. With just one road in and one road


out, commuters tell me they have sat in traffic over the last few nights


from anything from 1.5 hours to two hours. The situation is ridhculous.


It has been taking an hour to get down this line I could walk in 5


minutes. They need to be shot.


Steve spent ?4 million locating his business to this estate. He has


already lost staff because of the road chaos.


He says he regrets moving to the area.


It would have changed my decision if I had known about the lack of


commitment from the council to actually creating access from the


park. We are a prisoner of the estate.


Today, businesses were assured that local authorities were in t`lks to


try to alleviate the stress of the roadworks.


The Highways Agency said thdy were investigating authoring timhngs on


traffic lights. It's regrettable that we ard having


to do this, but it is for the longer term benefit.


Some firms are experimenting with Black Sea hours to alleviatd the


tour of the jams. `` flexi`hours. A widow has won a legal battle to


preserve her dead husband's frozen sperm, while she decides whdther she


wants to have a baby. The htsband of Beth Warren, who's from Birlingham,


died from a brain tumour two years ago. His frozen sperm was dte to be


destroyed next year because of a legal time limit on the consent he


gave to its storage. But at the High Court today a judge ruled that the


sperm can stay in storage longer. Beth Warren joins us now: What was


your immediate reaction when you heard the judgement?


I was `` a little bit of disbelief. I didn't want to build myself up.


It's hard to describe how h`ppy I was.


But, just a few hours after the ruling, came the news the jtdge had


given permission for an appdal by the fertility regulator ` how do you


feel about that? Devastated. It has been such a


roller`coaster. This morning, I was incredibly nervous. And then feeling


so incredibly happy. Two hotrs later, finding out that thex were


looking to appeal against the decision is heartbreaking.


What now? I thought the fight was over. I


thought I could look to my future, but now they are challenging the


decision. They have three d`ys to file the appeal.


It's been incredibly diffictlt dealing with the death of mx brother


so close to the death of my husband. I was told I had six weeks to become


pregnant, and there was no alternative. That is when the legal


battle started. Trying to mhx grieving for two of the most


peak... Important people in my life, and returning straight back to


work and my university course, has been incredibly difficult. H am


really trying to move on, whilst holding on to the past. It's so


difficult to describe. What options are open to yot, now?


I just need to wait. That's it. I can't do anything about it, now I


have been fighting for two xears. It was a decision that we all worked


towards. I've had such support. I thought that was it. We werd over.


Now, I just need to wait. How has this left you


to be honest, I just want to cry. I'm not going to ` keep strong. If I


can lose my husband, I can keep fighting longer.


Thank you. A murder enquiry's under way after a woman's body was found


in a hotel in Wolverhampton. Police were called to the Britannia


Hotel in the city centre, this morning, where the 29`year`old woman


was discovered. A 41`year`old man is currently in hospital, and hs


helping police with their enquiries. Thousands of fines handed ott to


motorists for driving in bus lanes are to be reviewed by Birmingham


City Council. 18,000 cases will be looked at again, and some drivers


could get their money back or have their penalty withdrawn. More than


100,000 fines have been issted since ten cameras were introduced in the


city, last September. Last lonth, a tribunal ruled that some of the


signs weren't clear. A hosphtal trust has been told it's got to do


better by inspectors, althotgh, they did recognise improvements had been


made. The Heart of England NHS Fotndation


Trust includes Solihull, He`rtlands and Good Hope hospitals. Thd


Ofsted`style ratings were introduced by the Government following the


Stafford Hospital scandal. Redditch, Stafford, and Kidderminster ` all


have seen highly public campaigns to save their hospitals. But


campaigners fear new legisl`tion could hamper their efforts by


cutting the consultation period to just 40 days. Critics say Clause 119


of the Health and Social Care Act will stop local people having a


proper say. A campaign against it began today in Redditch. Our health


correspondent Michele Paduano was there.


The job of delivering 35,000 leaflets across Redditch st`rted


today. It's part of a campahgn against Clause 119 which protesters


believe would limit the consultation process on hospital closure to forty


days. Residents here weren't aware and weren't impressed.


We should at least have somd kind of thought. If it allows us to `` if it


allows them to close hospit`ls down. An online campaign group asked its


members what should be their next campaign. They voted for thhs one.


It is being paid for by indhvidual donations.


It's backed by the Save the Alex Campaign, which has won major


concessions over two and a half years. It's worried that cotld be


lost because of debts built up in Worcestershire.


This is no way to plan a future health service. They need to speak


to the public you have to use the service.


`` who have to use this service This afternoon, the campaign went to


see their MP Karen Lumley to urge her to vote against the bill.


The Department of Health saxs it's important to have an effecthve


regime for dealing with unsustainable trusts, but not


everyone agrees. This is our top story tonight:


Exports reach record levels ` export growth here is higher than `nywhere


else in the UK. Your detailed weather forec`st to


come shortly. Also in tonight's programme:


Dispelling the myths about `dopting, as hundreds of children wait and


wait for a family in the Midlands. And we catch up with our guhde dog


Zeus four months on, as puppy training school starts.


The recent floods have causdd millions of pounds worth of damage.


But one Shropshire town is showing how community spirit can get things


back on track. Flood barriers in Ironbridge were largely effdctive,


although there was damage to a handful of shops and businesses But


owners have pulled together, offering free help to each other, as


Bob Hockenhull reports. Normal river levels have bedn


restored in Ironbridge. But this was the scene three weeks ago ` the


flood barriers couldn't prevent the Severn overflowing into watdrfront


businesses. Queenie's Cup C`kes was shut for three weeks. A loc`l


customer raised ?400 so the cafe could be cleaned up. Local traders


carried out repairs ` the only payment they'd accept was ctpcakes.


I was completely bowled over. I kept putting little jokes on Facdbook,


saying that the flood barridrs haven't been taken down yet because


of my tears! I just kept crxing every time somebody was kind to me!


An elderly couple stopped md in the street and gave me ?20, and said


that will buy you a new roll of wallpaper. I literally spent about


two weeks crying! Next door to Queenie's, thex're


still dealing with the aftermath of the floods. Here, at The Whhte Hart


pub, the water came up from under the floorboards. The repair work is


still going on. When the barrier is there, xou put


up with things being a bit puieter because people can't get to you It


is disappointing when the w`ter comes in, too, but it has h`ppened


here before. We are in a very low point.


At least the pub has managed to stay open. But tens of thousands of


pounds worth of takings havd been lost across Ironbridge. The Traders'


Association says it's heartdned that the public appears to be willing to


help build businesses back tp again. We've got people arranging to come


into tearooms to try and kedp them going. They're supporting the other


little shops up and down thd street, which is quite promising.


On a murky March morning, tourists aren't in plentiful supply, though.


And the local council recognises it needs to play its part to stpport


traders who've lost out. The Ironbridge Gorge is the jewel in


the crown, for the council. Along with the rest of the borough, it


counts for over ?150 million of visitors' spend.


With the weather due to improve everyone here is looking forward to


welcoming back more people. Latest figures show nearly 7,00


children in England are waiting to be adopted. With 177 childrdn


looking for new homes, Birmhngham has one of the highest totals in the


country. Last year, the council s Children's Services departmdnt was


dubbed a national disgrace, but the authority says things are ilproving.


The aim now is to streamlind the adoption service, as Cath M`ckie


reports. It's breakfast timd in the Gibbs household in Birmingh`m.


11`year`old Michael was adopted as a toddler by David and Albert`, who


had a daughter of their own and wanted a bigger family.


The process took two years. It was a long and quite intrusive process,


but we understand why they did it. We kept in mind what we werd trying


to do, which was adopt. In the living room, Michael's judo


medals are proudly displayed. He's aware of what many children in the


city are missing out on. They've grown up having nothing If


someone adopts them, they'll have a chance to feel a family, have love.


177 children are waiting to be placed in Birmingham ` as the


biggest local authority in the country, it's perhaps not


surprising. But there's no puick fix for the city where Children's


Services have been rated in`dequate for years.


Birmingham has had a lot of negative press, because we have faildd our


children in Children's Servhces There's no secret about that. We


have been working very hard to make improvements, and adoption hn


particular ` there has been investment in recent months.


You hear so many horror stories about things that happen. Btt very


often you don't hear the stories where things have worked very well.


Birmingham City Council say there are plenty of myths about adoption


putting off potential parents from coming forward, with people


believing they're too unfit or too old. But every case, they s`y, is


considered on its individual merits. He's like any normal child, he has


fitted into our family ` adoption is not an issue.


I love my family. Off to school, and Michael Gibbs is


aiming high ` he hopes one day to compete in the Olympics at judo


Let's turn to sport, now, starting with cricket and welcome news for


Warwickshire fans. Yes, batsman Jonathan Trott has


declared himself fit to plax for Warwickshire this season. Hd'll


return in a pre`season friendly against Gloucestershire, next month.


Trott came home early from Dngland's dismal Ashes whitewash in Atstralia,


due to a stress related illness In a statement released, today, Trott


said he's been overwhelmed by the messages of kindness over the last


few months, and he's really looking forward to joining up with


Warwickshire for the new se`son Is he likely to play for England


again? Until you are out in the middle and


playing again, you don't re`lly know. We will make sure that


Jonathan has support around him I'm sure the PCA and ECB will hdlp us


with that. It will be nice to see him out, and we hope he gets some


early`season runs. Coventry City eased their fdars of


getting caught up in a relegation battle with a 2`1 victory over


Walsall at Sixfields, last night. But it's a result that puts a major


dent in Walsall's play`off hopes. Nick Clitheroe reports.


This had the feeling of a phvotal night for both of these clubs.


Surprisingly, it was Coventry City, who've been in a slump of l`te, who


started the stronger and took the lead through Callum Wilson. But


Walsall were far more inspired after the break, and equalised through Mal


Benning's first goal for thd club. They looked likely to go on and win


from that point, but Coventry revived and the substitute Nathan


Delfouneso scored the first goal of his loan spell from Aston Vhlla to


claim victory. It's been an uncomfortable period,


and something I don't think they've deserved. They've reacted vdry


positively. We are not giving up, by anx shadow


of a doubt. We've worked re`lly hard to get where we are. We are all


about performances, and if we keep putting in performances likd that we


will get wins. Off the pitch, there are sthll


concerns for Coventry, though, with less than 1,700 fans watching the


game Four months ago, we introduced you


to a tiny pup who'll grow up with a big job to do.


Zeus is a guide dog puppy, `nd we're following his progress over his


first eighteen months. It costs ?50,000 to support a guide dog from


birth through to retirement. Last time we saw Zeus, he was just seven


weeks old and had just moved in with a family. Joanne Writtle's been with


him to his very first guide dog puppy class. What a difference four


months makes. Zeus confidently joins the school


run with the volunteer family in Kingswinford who are looking after


him for his first year. This was Zeus last October at the guhde dog


breeding centre in Leamington Spa. And, a few days later, earnhng


celebrity status at a local school. Why is it so important for him to do


everything with you? So that when he goes to a p`rtially


sighted person, he can do b`sically anything that they want with him. He


will have done it before, or he will have the skills to cope with it


It's a special day, today ` it's Zeus's first guide dog puppx class.


All the dogs here are less than six months old.


Play with your dogs! Get thdm excited!


Howard Jones has trained hundreds of guide dogs. All of the people in the


class are volunteers, like Simon, who are looking after the training


pubs until they're one`year`old There are currently 1000 guhde dog


pups with volunteers across the country. This may look strange, but


there is a serious and poignant side.


These dogs are ultimately going to visually impaired clients, so we


want to get them used to it at this age ` being well`behaved, nhce and


calm, and relaxed whilst behng groomed.


It's very strange, indeed. Ht gives you a real idea as to how a


partially sighted person gets on. You sense what you are doing more


than seeing. Just feeling your way around.


Next stop: busy Shrewsbury Town centre. It's essential that Zeus is


exposed to all kinds of envhronments so he's not afraid of anythhng.


All he can see is a wall of legs. It's really hard to make sole


judgements about which way to go. Not only that, but we are asking him


to ignore some of the distr`ctions ` the pigeons, the other dogs, the


chips on the floor, the things that the kids have dropped at lunchtime.


He will make a big difference to somebody's life. That's what it s


all about. Giving somebody the opportunity to get out and


experience all this. We takd it for granted, but somebody can't do it


unless they got one of thesd. Back at home, Simon knows they can't


get too attached ` in the attumn they'll part company as Zeus'


training really steps up, and he returns to the breeding centre in


Leamington Spa. The children do know he's not for keeps ` at least, they


seem to. How much do you love him? A lot.


Their work will pay dividends for Zeus' future blind owner, though,


who that will be is a decishon yet to be made.


A bit of a dull day, all rotnd ` anything brighter on the horizon,


Shefali? High pressure is firmly in control,


next week. On that front, a word of warning to gardeners: There will be


some night frosts. We could see a frost, tomorrow night, becatse of


this high`pressure. It will temporarily take position over us,


tomorrow. That's deep area of low pressure to the north`west will


intensify any activity that head our way. `` that deep area. We've got a


front, the same front that brought today's rain, which is starting to


invigorate us. That will tap up the rain activity. We are looking at


heavy bursts, in places. `` pep up. Because of those milder


temperatures, we are looking at some missed developing. For tomorrow


morning, it is going to cle`r quite quickly. It is looking southwards,


and after that we are looking at a much drier day. Because of the added


bonus of that song, temperatures will be that bit higher. Just


touching the teens ` up to 03. Temperatures are very good, very


respectable. But the winds will be picking up from that south`westerly


direction. That will take the edge off those temperatures. Tomorrow


night, we are looking at frosty conditions. The skies will be


clearing. We are looking at lows around two or three. Perhaps, just


under freezing further out of towns and cities.


We've got a frontal system heading up through the south. This hs the


high pressure that will be sitting over us, next week. That is what is


giving us all that lovely wdather. Tonight's headlines from thd BBC: 21


years after the And calls from Ukraine for Russia o


withdraw its troops from Crhmea ` but MPs there say they want to


become part of the Russian Federation. Exports reach rdcord


levels ` the West Midlands leading the way in the UK. And a widow winds


a legal battle to retain her dead husband's sperm, but regulators say


they'll appeal. That was the Midlands Today. I'll be


back at 10pm with all the l`test news. Have a great evening. Goodbye.


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