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Hello and welcome to Midlands Today. BBC One
Hello and welcome to Midlands Today. The headlines tonight Apologies to
the family of a severely autistic teenager after they were left
without adequate support. There s just not enough funding for people
like Charlie. We'll be asking an expert how this
sort of situation can be avoided in the future. Also tonight, W`rwick
Castle, Coventry Cathedral ` two of our finest visitor attractions
getting together to build even more success. The more that the public
realise what they have on their doorstep, the more people use it and
value it. Creating great powerhouses of
economic development. Ed Miliband's vision for cities such as
Birmingham. A shock for water workers
investigating stinking sewers in Telford ` had they found de`d
piranha fish? And not much to rave about hn the
weather this week, but then again no real cause for complaint, though the
rise and fall in temperaturds might be something to keep an eye on. More
on those later. Good evening. A family with a
severely autistic teenage son was placed at unnecessary risk because
Birmingham City Council failed to provide them with enough support.
That's the finding of the Local Government Ombudsman who's now cold
on the council to take action and pay compensation. It was in October
2012 that Sally Clarke from Kings Norton first contacted the council
to ask for help with her son, Charlie. But by February 2003, the
council had closed the case without telling her. Both Sally Clarke and
Charlie's school continued to plead for help, but it was only when the
ombudsman intervened in Jantary this year that the council admitted it
had failed. Joanne Writtle reports. Charlie is severely autistic. His
family in Birmingham need a lot of support. Last year, he was very
violent and stuff. I think hormonal as well, it played a part. We were
having to deal with a lot of violence and self injuries `s well,
which was tough. Charlie spends most of his time at a
specialist residential home. But at weekends, his family was left to
manage without help. They eventually had to go to the local government
ombudsman to force Birmingh`m City Council to re`think.
This was a young man, he was quite capable of overpowering his mother
and she was physically assatlted and was at risk of that. The cotncil
delayed conducting an assessment, and this goes back a couple of years
now, and what I've asked for in my recommendations is to make sure an
assessment is carried out as soon as possible, indeed, with a month and a
proper plan is put in place so that she is no longer at risk of harm. I
think it is lack of funding. There's just not enough funding for
people like Charlie, autisthc people and people with disabilities
generally. There's just not enough funding in those areas for the
services that people need. Only three weeks ago, Birmingham
City Council was ordered to pay compensation to the mother of
another unnamed child with special needs because she wasn't getting the
support she should have. Me`nwhile, the council says it's apologised to
Charlie Clarke's family, saxing it will now re`assess his needs to
ensure he gets appropriate care It's been really stressful. I'm just
holding it together now. I'l coming out the other side of it. It's been
a tough year. Charlie's mother will also be paid
more than ?1,000 in compens`tion for the council's failure to help her
cope with her son's actions. Joining us now from our London
studio is Simon Shaw from the National Autistic Society. Good
evening to you, Mr Shaw. Is this sort of failing comlon?
Yes, we hear of this are far too often, families who do not get the
support they need quickly enough from councils who are required to
provide services. It must leave affected families in
despair with nowhere to turn? Yes, families often talk about the stage
where young people are moving from children to adults services as a
cliff edge. It is important that councils do take action.
The government is reforming plans. Hopefully, this should happdn less
often. It comes to something when the ombudsman has to get involved.
Yes, it should not have got to the stage at all. Councils have a duty
to assess and meet the needs of people with autism in their area.
Why do you think councils do not get involved as much as they should Do
they not realise how import`nt it is? I think there are a number of
challenges for local authorhties. Fundamentally, it is a leaddrship
issue. Local authorities should ensure that autism is a key priority
for them. There are roughly one in 100 people who have autism so it
should be on the list of ardas they need to think about. Are yot
confident the sort of thing will not happen again? I think all local
authorities need to review their process. The new autism str`tegy
came out last week and this is an opportunity to introduce a
StepChange. Thank you. Thanks for joining us this dvening.
You're watching Midlands Today from the BBC. Coming up later in the
programme A vital meeting ` councillors decide tonight on
controversial plans to build some 30,000 new homes in Gloucestershire.
Arts and culture is bringing over ?170 million a year to Coventry and
Warwickshire and supporting hundreds of jobs. Now some of the cotnty s
biggest attractions, includhng Warwick Castle and the RSC, have
come together to highlight their importance to the local economy And
today the new CW8 group met with the head of the Arts Council to make
their case for continued support. Here's our Arts and Culture reporter
Satnam Rana. As the spring sun glistens on
Warwick Castle, tourists make their trip take in the medieval m`rvel.
This is just one of the eight leading arts and culture
organisations that have united to form CW8, a network to tell us and
businesses about the role they play in the local ecenomy. It is about
raising the profile. There hs limited funding for all of these
attractions individually and I think that we have a much greater voice
when we come together and ptsh our message collectively.
So what's the message? Well, the CW8, which includes the Roy`l
Shakespeare Company, brings 3.5 million visitors to Coventrx and
Warwickshire. The eight oganisations employ 1,400 full`time staff and
thousands more volunteers. @nd collectively, they turn over ?8
million. And this was the mdssage being sent to the chair of the Arts
Council in today's meeting `t the Warwick Arts Centre. The more that
the public realise what thex have on their doorstep, the more thdy will
use it and value it. Not only will they earn more from them, btt the
government will see how important the arts and culture is to people
and continue to fund us. Recently the Arts Council has been criticised
for not spending enough outside the southeast London, so today's meeting
was a reminder of what it c`n spend its money on here.
After the motor industry, the West Midlands is probably the most.. The
most important thing going on here is arts and culture. We've got a
national institution, the Royal Shakespeare Company. In the three
years up to 2015, the Arts Council will be investing more than ?60
million in the arts and culture in this area because it is verx
important. To many of us, a trip to attractions like Coventry C`thedral
is a day out. But cultural leaders want us to recognise the role they
play in our region. Today's meeting with the Arts Council wasn't just a
business pitch. It was also a moment to remind all of us about the value
of arts and culture on our doorstep, the value of Coventry Cathedral and
much more. And why? For every pound of public money, our money hnvested
in arts and culture, ?4 is generated to the wider economy income in
Coventry and Warwickshire. The Labour Leader has been hn
Birmingham to set out a vishon of devolved powers for Britain's major
cities. Ed Miliband said he planned to reverse a century of
centralisation to make sure the new city and county regions bec`me great
powerhouses of economic devdlopment. Our Political Editor Patrick Burns
was at the event and joins le now. Patrick, what's the thinking behind
this? It is the brainchild of Lord Adonis. Examining how major cities
can punch above their weight economic league and in skills and
technologies. There is a debate about greater Birmingham and I asked
Ed Birmingham Ed Vaizey expdcting other areas to buy into this. There
is a huge opportunity for authorities to come together, to
work together with a proper partnership and get much grdater
control over the things that matter to them ` transport, skills,
economic development ` so they can shape their own future. We have had
other ideas, like regional authorities, what is so difficult
about this? It is to find a broad econolic
sweep, but also keep" communities. It sounds like the notes stored and
turned report set out by thd former Conservative Prime Minister Lord
Heseltine `` Conservative mhnister Lord Heseltine.
I've talked very much about devolution from Whitehall to city
regions. If we are talking `bout balancing the economy of thd UK we
need to see growth in the chty regions and this is the way to do
it. And this is meant to be Ed Liliband
showing that he is coming up with original ideas, how original is it?
Opposition talks about and then starts centralising once in office.
Michael Heseltine proposed this 18 months ago and I put it to Dd
Miliband that he was rehashhng his ideas. How can you plan loc`l skill
needs and plan local budgets when it is controlled from London. We would
give power to areas like Birmingham and work with other councils to make
a real difference. He says the big thing is thhs is
backed up by devolved spendhng power worth ?20 billion.
Thieves have caused thousands of pounds worth of damage after
breaking into the Severn Arda Rescue base in the Wyre Forest. Thd windows
of two Land Rovers were smashed with fuel and one of the inflatable
rescue crafts stolen. A spokesman says it'll disrupt their abhlity to
respond if there's an emergdncy The M6 in Warwickshire is still
closed southbound after an `ccident involving two lorries and two cars
this morning. The carriagew`y between junctions three and two
won't be reopened until early tomorrow morning. The Highw`ys
Agency says the motorway nedds to be resurfaced. There is report of heavy
traffic in the area. A public inquiry has begun hnto
plans for a new multi`million pound business park around Coventry
Airport. Both Coventry City and Warwick District Councils h`ve
already approved the Gatewax scheme. But a government planning inspector
will make the final decision on the development being built on green
belt land. It could create tp to 14,000 jobs. Protests are expected
tomorrow as councillors in Gloucestershire vote on using green
belt to build new homes. More than 30,000 houses are planned for the
area around Cheltenham, Glotcester and Tewkesbury. The plans h`ve
proved to be especially controversial as Paul Barltrop
reports. The people have made their voices
heard repeatedly. Why are people pressing to build in
the green belt? This is going to be the biggest incursion into green
belt ever. For years, there've been protests
over the long term plan for where to put new housing around the county's
main urban areas. The focus now shifts to council chambers. This
evening, Gloucester councillors will assemble here to vote on thd plan.
They follow Tewkesbury, where members yesterday narrowly backed it
after a heated debate. And tomorrow protests are expected when the
strategy goes before Cheltenham councillors. Campaigner Richard
Lloyd will be at tonight's beating. `` meeting. It's very difficult The
government mantra is growth, growth, growth, but it's how you deliver it
in practice. The green belt was put in place to keep Gloucester and
Cheltenham apart, that is its primary purpose. It is therd for a
good reason. But the most sustainable location to put urban
extensions are into the gredn belt and you can't get away from that.
Visiting Gloucester today, the government's housing ministdr. He
meets the staff on the council's housing offices. They want to tackle
the shortage of housing. Thdre is a willingness to build and develop,
but whether it will meet thd demand, there are 240,000 new homes required
each year and we are nowherd there near that. It is something that has
to be addressed nationally `nd at local level.
The coalition know that new developments are often unpopular so
it has set rules to say councils cannot say no to all house building.
I am not going to debate about where it should be. That should bd about
local people making choices. We have said to councils, go out and have
those debates. These are tense moments. But I think it is hmportant
we don't just look at the f`ct that there will be a house built there.
Think about the local econoly in those communities which are
concerned at the moment. People will get a job as a consequence of that.
These were the last homes btilt by the council 25 years ago. There is a
determination for a new era of construction to begin.
This is our top story tonight: Apologies to the family of `
severely autistic teenager `fter they were left without adeqtate
support. Your detailed weather forec`st to
come shortly from Shefali. We could do without that bitter wind.
Also in tonight's programme. Can we all enjoy the wonders of
modern science? A series of special events in Birmingham are ailing to
make us do just that. And had they found dead pir`nhas? A
shock for council workers investigating extra smelly sewers in
Shropshire. If you have a story you think we
should be covering on Midlands Today, we'd like to hear from you.
There are calls tonight for more research as the number of
Parkinson's Disease patients is set to double over the next 20 xears. A
leading academic is in Downhng Street this evening saying that the
West Midlands is involved in some of the biggest drug trials in the
world, but more investment hs needed. Here's our Health
correspondent, Michele Padu`no. Imagine never being able to stand or
sit perfectly still. At 56, Barrie Smith is, through illness, having to
retire and spend more time hn his garden. His Parkinsons symptoms mean
he can move but not keep sthll. I can hoe perfectly well. I c`n't hold
the hoe very well. Because ly resting tremor kicks in. And the
more I try to stop it, the worse it will get. Barrie takes pills for the
missing dopamine in his rain. Recently he was admitted to hospital
and had access to drugs. But Parkinsons UK says ignorancd means
six in ten patients are affdcted. In some parts of the country, people
find great difficulty in getting their drugs at the time thex need
them. I can only imagine th`t that is pretty much like a living hell.
At City Hospital, they're aware that, with an ageing population
Parkinson rates are set to double in 20 years. Parkinsons patients are
prone to falls and injuries. More work needs to be done to stop
into hospital in the first place. At into hospital in the first place. At
the moment, there are 75,000 admissions are you at the cost of
over ?100 million. Professor Carl Clark has just submitted a 05 year
study into the best treatment for Parkinsons to the prestigiots Lancet
journal, but today he will call on Government for more investmdnt. The
key message for the reception at Downing Street is that we are going
to have to face the problem of Parkinson's disease just as people
have to face the problem of dementia, which I think people are
more familiar with. He's hoping that at Number Ten, he will be ptshing on
an open door. Michele Paduano, BBC Midlands Today.
From steam engines to beer brewing there's a long, proud history of
scientific invention in Birlingham and the wider Midlands. Now
Birmingham is launching its first`ever year of science with all
sorts of events for all sorts of ages. We sent our Science
Correspondent David Gregory`Kumar along to find out more and he joins
us now from the Library of Birmingham where the Year of Science
was launched. David, what c`n we expect?
We got a taste of what we c`n expect today. There were hands on
experiments for children of all ages. Some of top scientists from
our universities were on hand to explain what we can expect.
In front of the Library of Birmingham Science, buskers attract
the crowds. Inside Marmite, robots and plenty of liquid nitrogdn
introduce Birmingham's Year of Science. It's astounding. Wd've got
a range of really brilliant researchers, including rese`rchers
from the universities in Birmingham. It's an opportunity for people to
come and hear about that research and to engage in dialogue as well,
to ask questions, to find ott what implications are of that schence for
themselves in their own livds, for making political and economhc
decisions and all those sort of things.
In Birmingham and the Midlands, science is a serious business.
Today, we've got a really strong scientific background as well. We've
got 40% growth over the last eight years within the science sector one
of the fastest`growing areas of the economy. We've also got 14,000
students who are years studxing science, more than any other
regional city. Not far from today's launch event,
we find this statute Boulten, Watts and Murdoch who did everythhng from
steam engines to improving the brewing process. They are a sign of
the long and proud scientifhc tradition of Birmingham and the
Midlands. And recognising that history, the year will culmhnate in
the British Science Festival in September. A massive sciencd event
that has been going since 1831. We want to really make science a
part of a city's life for a week. We want to say this is the biggest
thing you should be thinking about. We want to have events, talks,
ideas, drama, comedy all focused around science. It is there so the
public can see what science is really about and connect with
scientists. A year of science in this most
scientific of cities. If yot are wondering what they were dohng at
the end, I think it was an experiment to work out lung
capacity. If all this has ghven you a taster for wanting to learn more,
you can find all the details on our Facebook page. There are pldnty of
events, many of them free and for all levels of scientific
understanding. For me, the highlight will be in the autumn. They say
there was not even a word for scientist when the first schence
festival took place in 1831. Education as always.
Would I be right in thinking that many people at some point m`y have
flushed a dead goldfish down the toilet? Well, imagine the strprise
Severn Trent workers got whdn they went to clear a very smelly drain in
Telford and found what they believed to be piranhas blocking the pipe.
Yes, piranhas! Ben Sidwell reports.
There's something fishy that's been plaguing the residents of Ndw Street
in Madeley, but even they wdren t expecting the horrors that lurking
down below. I just came and the manhole cover came up and when I
looked down, there was a piranha down there.
Barry Briggs, who first cold for help, knows a thing or two `bout
fish, he's got plenty in his back garden. But even he was shocked when
he found out what had been causing the stench in the street. You would
like to think they are in somebody's house, not in thd drains.
The last thing you want to be is on the toilet when one of them pops up.
This is what Severn Trent workman came face to face with when they
went to investigate below the ground. It's not everyday that we
find fish, particularly big fish the sewers so we were surprised. And
it's not just piranhas. In January, a blockage near Bridgnorth was
caused by piles of pants th`t had been flushed down the toilet. With
planners in the water systel, it's time to call in the experts. At
Ripples Waterlife in Telford, there's rather a snappy trade on the
more dangerous varieties of fish. But whatever type you have, the
advice is not to flush them down the loo. It would be better to bury
them, or burn them on a bonfire something like that. If you put them
in the bin, they will start to smell. If you put them down the
toilet, they can block it. So what does Arron make of the toothy terror
lurking in Shropshire's sewdrs? This is the fish. It's not `
piranha. Hopefully tonight they ll sleep more soundly in their beds in
New Road, knowing the worst the fish in the sewers will give thel is a
nasty suck. Smelly sewers aside, what's in the
air tonight, Shefali? Nothing as nasty as that. Now the
coalfish lashing out at us. All pretty good this week. It whll be
relatively warm during the day, but watch out for prostate
`` frosty nights. High pressure is very much in control. There is a
cold front descending from the North on Thursday night. But I thhnk the
effects of that will be weakened by that high pressure. We are just
talking about light, patchy rain. This evening, and for the fhrst part
of tonight, clear skies. Temperatures could fall lowdr than
last night, three Celsius. We could see some patchy frost first thing.
In towns and cities, lows of five or six Celsius. More moisture heading
in from the North West giving us some patchy mist and fog for the
morning. Starting off on a larket note tomorrow morning, cloudy. ``
murky. Sunshine later, but that could set of odd shower.
Temperatures rising to about 13`14 Celsius, reasonably warm. More in
the way of cloud tomorrow nhght and the breeze could pick up as well.
Just the odd shower he had `nd there. Some rain later in the day.
Don't forget, I'm going to be presenting two radio shows on BBC
Coventry and Warwickshire over the Easter holiday ` at 6pm on Good
Friday and Easter Monday. And I m hoping that listeners will get in
touch with their questions on Twitter.
It would be good if you could get those questions in two me bx the end
of the day. Tonight's headlines from thd BBC.
The Oscar Pistorius murder trial ` the athlete relives the momdnt he
shot his girlfriend. And history is made as Irel`nd's
president is welcomed by thd Queen for the first official statd visit
to Britain. And apologies to the family of a
severely autistic teenager `fter they were left without adeqtate
support. Warwick Castle and Coventry
Cathedral are getting together to build it even more success.
That was the Midlands Today. I'll be back at ten o'clock, with the latest
football scores. Have a gre`t evening. Goodbye.