10/07/2014 Midlands Today


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weather. Not a wash-out but stay tuned for the details.


We have seen a massive reduction in the service we are offering to the


community. We'll have your reaction to


the industrial action and speak to A mental health worker is stabbed to


death at an inpatient unit at a Gloucester hospital `


a man has been arrested. Thousands


of epilepsy patients could miss out on a life changing operation,


because the NHS won't pay for it. I am very eager to have the surgery


and then be free of medication. The myriad of midlands links with


the mythical musical world of Oz ` And another glorious day ` you're


probably wondering where the rain is. Well, you could be asking the


same question tomorrow ` will it Good evening, thousands


of public sector workers across the Around 50,000 people


including teachers, firefighters, carers and council workers took


industrial action over changes to Around 300 schools were either shut


or partially closed because And nearly 3000 workers took to


the streets of Coventry, Stoke, Hereford, Wolverhampton and


Birmingham in organised rallies. Sarah Falkland was


at the largest demo in Birmingham. The turn out wasn't


as spectacular as the sunshine. Birmingham might be home to Europe's


largest local authority, but fewer than 2,000 people took to


the streets. Dave Pitt is a firefighter from


West Bromwich. On paper,


things don't look too bad for him. Four years ago, as a probationary


firefighter, he was earning ?20,000 and now he's earning ?28,000 ` but


that doesn't tell the whole story ` as he's struggling to pay pension


contributions of over 14 per cent. For us it's one thing or the other,


having the heating on or paying our pensions.


She earned ?40,000 in 2010 but couldn't keep up with what she


says were ever increasing demands and now earns ?5,000 less.


The workload is never`ending. I have a young daughter. I bring her home


and all I want to do is get on with my work because it is never


finishing. Teachers ` even primary school


ones ` were well represented... And for them it's not just


about pay, pensions and conditions. The geography and history curriculum


are very poor and I don't know who has written them. I am struggling to


make an exciting. The government has condemned today's


strike as illegitimate because It stands by recent pay freezes,


arguing that the county's still clawing its way


out of the great recession, but There is a ?10 billion in local


authority funding. The top 1% in our society ` their wealth has risen by


80% in the last year. They should give a little bit back.


For many, there's just a one per cent pay rise


Librarian Geoff Millington earned ?17,000 in 2010


You hope that when you retire you will be able to put some money in


the bank for your retirement. We cannot.


There could be more strikes in the autumn, unions warn.


Well, that was the picture in Birmingham,


but across the Midlands there were picket lines and protests too.


Let's have a look now at how the strike affected the region,


we'll start with BBC Radio Stoke's Political reporter, Phil McCann.


This town Hall was just one location in Stoke`on`Trent where there was a


picket line today. There was another at the tax office opposite and at


the city council headquarters. Around 200 people gathered to hear


speeches and is to attend a rally. 41 schools have been shot across


Staffordshire today. Many others are partially closed. Beans are not


being collected and council buildings closed. Let's look at the


situation in Coventry. There are picket lines across the region, the


biggest impact here in Coventry has been on schools. 30 are closed in


Coventry and 25 across Warwickshire. Lady Godiva, a woman who was not


afraid to demonstrate, today overlooked a rally of the council's


12,500 workers in the city centre. My colleague has been finding out


what has been going on in Hereford and was to share. Unison tell me


that there are over three hot fuzz and `` three 3,000 public sector


workers here. There are nine schools closed in was Jewish, with more


partially closed. `` in Worcestershire. The library and art


gallery have been closed as well. Let's find out what it's like in


Shropshire. Workers from the Defence Caught Group have walked out of a


depot here to stage a rally. They are joined by union members from


across the public sector. In Shropshire, eight schools have


closed. The local authorities say that services have not really been


affected. This is the busiest picket line in the county today.


What's different has destroyed me to people here who were not able to


stand their children to school or use council services?


Ben Godfrey has been assessing the impact in Wolverhampton.


at the school gate and an infant school in Wolverhampton


Just a few classes were affected by striking NUT members ` but it


In the city centre, we found Nicholas Baggott ` out of work for


I have two children at home who I have to arrange childcare for. It's


a nightmare because my other child doesn't want to go to school because


his brother doesn't have to. In the city centre, we found


Nicholas Baggott ` out of work for over six months and turned away from


perusing the latest job vacancies. I'm a bit gobsmacked. I have been


told to come back tomorrow. Jobcentre Plus told us all


of its buildings were open today. Here, though, it appeared to be for


those with pre`arranged interviews. There was something


of a carnival atmosphere in St. Peter's Square, as 150 attended


a rally over pay and pensions. It's lovely. This is a difficult


sell to members of the public he has seen their council tax go up this


year and also ?120 million of cuts from the city council. Would you


like a sticker? Shaun Taylor `


who's been unemployed for two years But when I told


the 35 year old there were teachers My mum is a teacher. So I know the


struggle that she goes through. The pressures, the union pressures,


pressure from the government. At least 50 city schools


were affected by the strike. The local authority says


there's been minimal disruption We've had lots of comments


about the strike on Twitter Julie Baldwin says,


"I'd like to know whether any of the parents plan to 'fine' the schools


involved for causing their children But Keith Morgan says, "Most


of the people working in the private sector would give their eye teeth to


have the terms and conditions that And Helen Pinches says,


"I'd be unhappy if my conditions of I'm joined now by James Morris,


Conservative MP for Halesowen Let's address that point


from firefighter Dave Pitt in Sarah Falklands report ` he has to choose


between the heating and paying his I don't know about his personal


circumstances but we are reforming public sector pensions. If you look


at the firefighters pension scheme, it would take someone in the private


sector having to make a third of their salary in contributions to get


a sent `` similar level of pension. I'm a long`term economic plan is on


unsustainable footing. We have cut the deficit by a third. We have had


to cut public spending in order to keep the nation's finances in decent


shape. Any good news for public sector workers?


We have the deficit down by a third, but still have a lot of work to do.


Public sector pay is capped at 1%. Even Labour are agreeing that it


must be capped at 1%. We are hoping that wages will be able to grow as


the economy recovers, but we need to keep fiscal discipline. We still


have a long way to recover from the difficulties that we inherited four


years ago. There has been heated debate on


social media today. One man said, it's not just teachers striking. If


you have an issue, how about talking to MPs who have just had an 11%


increase. MPs have had their pay frozen for


two years. They are subject to the public sector pay freeze. No


decisions have been made. You spent time with emergency


services, police and mental health workers recently. You see how


difficult a job is. Doesn't that deserve to be rewarded?


I think it is rewarded properly. Not according to the people have ``


to have taken industrial action today.


I think this was an unnecessary disruption. The reality is that we


have capped public sector pay at 1% because we need to continue the


effort to get the deficit down as part of a long`term economic plan to


get Britain's finances back on a stable footing.


Thank you. You're watching Midlands Today,


good to have you with us. A boost for Uttoxeter,


supermarket chain Waitrose is to move onto the old JCB site,


creating nearly 200 jobs. And working hard to help others


unwind, the Shropshire couple who have moved from sheep


farming to lavender growing. Police in Gloucester are continuing


to question a 60`year`old man on suspicion of murder after


a female worker at a mental health It happened at the


Wotton Lawn Hospital in Gloucester Staff at this secure hospital


gathered for a meeting this morning, 24 hours after a worker was stabbed


to death. Police arrived yesterday morning but the female carriers


systems could not be saved. The man arrested is in his 60s and believed


to be a patient here. He is still in cost to this evening, being


questioned by police. This hospital is equipped with ?88. It only takes


patients with acute mental health problems. Today staff from the


hospital next door it said news of the stabbing has left everyone


shaking. Where I worked a lot of people have been shocked by what has


happened. All the nursing staff within the hospital don't expect to


come to work and have this sort of thing happen. It's not something


that you would expect to happen. For those representing mental health


workers, yesterday's attack has been disturbing news. Some of our members


have phoned us in distress today saying they cannot believe this has


happened. They feel worried about everyone involved, themselves, the


families. They have never `` they never thought it would happen at


this hospital and now they're faced with the reality that this has


happened. The trust which runs this unit says its thoughts are with the


family of the woman who died, what they could not comment further while


the investigation was under way. The parents of Christina Edkins,


the schoolgirl who was stabbed to death on a bus in Birmingham last


year, have spoken out calling on young people to support


the knife surrender campaign. It's hoped people will dispose


of weapons in the roadside bins. Today's was painted purple in memory


of Christina, her favourite colour. Her family say violent crime has a


terrible impact on everyone?s lives. It destroys the family, plus the


family and friends. To do this today is really nerve wracking. Wrap them


up and put them in the bin and that could save another life. It's not


big and it's not clever. Thousands of epileptic patients


across the Midlands could miss out on a life changing procedure


because of a row over funding. The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in


Birmingham ` which is the regional centre for brain surgery has


suspended the treatment, because it Our Health correspondent,


Michele Paduano has more. Renovating his bathroom, David


Knowles is getting on with life. An operation offers an 80% chance


of a cure, but 45 minutes after confirmation


that he was to go to hospital that He was called back


and told it was cancelled. All of a sudden I have been


confronted with the fact that it has been cancelled due to funding. I


find it pretty diabolical. His company had made preparations to


cover for the software engineer Staff cannot believe that a wrangle


over price has left him in limbo The doctor has expressed sympathy.


The patient is right at the heart of their considerations. In this case,


it is clearly not the case and is very disappointing.


I am very eager to have the surgery and then be free of medication and


able to work to my full potential. I have no idea what that potential is.


The surgery involves cutting out a damaged part of the brain.


But special electrodes are implanted in the brain to check


for electrical activity and payment for these is at issue.


University Hospitals Birmingham has apologised that it hasn't met


its normal high standards, but says that it is currently not


In a statement, NHS England said, "we do routinely fund epilepsy


The hospital said it was inappropriate for us to interview


the surgeon. He said it was a football match between the hospital


and NHS England. So hopefully David will eventually


get the operation, Nearly 200 jobs are to be created by


the supermarket Waitrose, which is The company's moving to a site which


was owned by the digger maker JCB. It's being seen


as a major boost to the market town, which suffered during the recession


when some high street names left. Here's our Staffordshire reporter,


Liz Copper. In the heart of Uttoxeter,


this is where generations But the huge town centre site was


flattened and has lain forlorn Now though plans to build new homes


and a supermarket are This is an historical site which has


been derelict for some time. Waitrose helps kick`start the


redevelopment. From as early as 1871, the Bamford


family were manufacturing The digger maker JCB had


a long presence here. But as the last machine rolled out,


to a new purpose built factory six years ago,


there was a commitment from the I'm sure we could make more money


doing other things than what we are doing. It really is, I don't know if


this word is appropriate, but it's a legacy.


The recession had a significant impact on Uttoxeter's


high street, with the departure of some big names.


Margaret Button successfully ran her floristry business through


How does she feel about the prospect of a new supermarket in town?


I am really happy about that. It is going to make such a difference to


the town. The whole area is going to look fabulous. We already have a new


area in town where all the shops have been taken. We just need people


to go back into the high Street. There are also plans to transform


part of the 22 acre site Building of the homes here is


expected to get under way by later this year with a supermarket opening


at Christmas. It may be set


in the mythical world of Oz, but the musical Wicked has more than


a few connections to the Midlands. The costumes made for the show start


life in Warwickshire, and one of Our Arts Reporter Satnam Rana


has ventured down the yellow Stratford Upon Avon ` home of


the Royal Shakespeare Company ` but it's also home to this ` materials


which make up costumes for the UK This piece of fabric is part of this


here so you will not release the eighth.


It's all assembled here and then shipped out to tailors


I love it because when I put a new actor in a costume I love to see


them perform, through their shoulders back and laugh. That is a


real treat. The costumes are designed


by award winning Susan Hilferty. There are over 7,000 fabrics used,


from sequins to feathers to There are over 3,000 items of


costume here, each fitted individually to cast members. There


is even a bit of royalty. The embroidery crafted on this piece is


`` was made by the same woman who works for the Queen.


Wicked has become a global phenomenon, performed in 100 cities.


And the UK tour stops off at the Birmingham Hippodrome


For lead actor Liam from Coventry it's a sort of a home coming show.


The UK tour may be bringing a global musical to the region, but our


This is the first show that my friends from school will be able to


watch. You get to see me do what I do now. They are all asking me when


I'm going to stop acting. They have realised that it's my full time job


now. it's a sort of a home coming show.


The UK tour may be bringing a global musical to the region, but our


region is taking its talent on and Coping with the changing weather is


an occupational hazard for most farmers, and Shefali you've


been to Shropshire to visit Earlier this week, I went along to


meet Joanna and Robin Spencer who've turned their small holding into a


rather successful cottage industry. The couple were forced to stop


farming sheep after the foot But


as I found out they've really had to work hard to make sure their crop


thrives in the Midlands climate. When you think of Shropshire, you


don't normally associated with lavender. That is unless you're


familiar with the area. This family have been working the fields of


purple for the best part of 20 years. They gave up a small farm


after an outbreak of foot and mouth. In 2002, they decided to grow


lavender instead, setting up this business here. After foot and


mouth, the regulations were so restricted for a small holding that


we have to think of something to do with the land. I have always loved


lavender. I am very keen gardener. Trying to establish, without


irrigation, is difficult. Trying to establish, without


irrigation, is We are very reliant on the weather. We try very hard to


count about, especially by growing British grown plants rather than the


imported ones from abroad. They cannot withstand the weather. Their


efforts have paid off, from what was initially just a trial planned with


200 lavender plants, they now have hundreds of acres of fields. There


are plans for even more. In the next five years, they hope to produce


30,000 bunches. Joanna and Robin have built a cottage industry. I


diversifying into areas other than just growing lavender, such as


small`scale production and sale, they have squeezed every drop of


potential as of this plants. When we started, we used to get our lavender


distilled from commercial stills. That produces very nice lavender but


we found that demonstrators were using a copper still, which produced


a much rounder, more mellow, richer note. This is a demonstration I have


just done, from a whole bucket of flowers. That little ribbon at the


top is like liquid gold. It produces a ten millimetre bottle of oil that


retails at about ?8. That is equivalent to about ?800 per litre.


Liquid gold it certainly is. From essential oils, jams, they sell it


all here. This `` the soothing properties of lavender make this a


relaxing form of retail therapy. There were supposed to be some


thunderstorms and rain today but you may have noticed that there weren't


any. It has been a different story in the east of the country but we


will get a taste of what is going on there over the weekend. The rain may


hold of till Saturday. This combination of rain and showers,


with some sunny spells in between and it should be quite humid until


the end of the weekend. Things will turn a fresher than. If you have the


opportunity, you should get out there and enjoy the weather. At rain


over the weekend is going to come from this Western system. That will


swing in from the west through the course of the weekend. Right now


it's sunny out there with plenty of sunshine to enjoy. Quite warm as


well. Today started with high temperatures of 24 degrees, so it


will take some time for those to drop. A pleasant end to the day and


then clear spells and a combination of clear spells and clouds later. It


will be warm and smugly overnight. You can see that there is just the


first indication of a bit of light rain there in the north`east. That


will extend further west through the course of tomorrow afternoon. For


most of the day it will be dry, again with plenty of sunshine in


certain places. Particularly in the western half of the region. We will


still manage highs of 21 Celsius in the South with light northerly


winds. A dry night tomorrow. Saturday could be dry until that


rain arrives from the West later at Saturday.


Back now to our top story about strikes across the region,


and to our reporter Sarah Falkland who's outside


Sarah, what's been achieved today do you think?


That's not going to go down at all well with the unions. This square


was full of public sector workers earlier today and the mood was one


of defiance. People want to be listened to. We heard earlier from


Dave Prentice from Unison. He doesn't just want a quick fix. That


would just be a sticking plaster for all the pay freeze is they have had


to endure. He once a five`year plan with stability for public sector


workers. Those kind of PlayStation 's which the MP quoted is not going


to wash at all. `` play catering. Thank you. Some breaking news: A


second man has been charged with the murder of a man in Sparkbrook. The


Birmingham father of four was stabbed last week. I will be back at


10pm. Good evening. with some new adventures to share


with YOUR little ones. Please, double please.


We're going to Dad's office today. These look really yummy.


I'm so excited about going to school.


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