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The Midlands could rival London for business output -
that's the encouraging message from the Chancellor, Philip Hammond,
on the day the Government launched its industrial strategy
The Prime Minister is already committed to growing the Midlands
economy by ?34 billion by 2030 and creating an extra 300,000 jobs
Today she shared her plans for how to make it happen.
Here's our business correspondent, Peter Plisner.
With the post-Brexit warning sirens still sounding and business
still cautious about the long-term impact of leaving the EU, today's
industrial strategy couldn't have come at a better time.
It is designed to help small businesses like this,
which makes warning lights and klaxons, plan for the future.
Vic, who is in charge of dispatches, is due to retire in a
few years' time, but even he thinks it is the right way forward.
I've only four years to go before I retire, but long-term,
for my kids and grandkids, obviously it is important.
Here, directly or indirectly, they supply goods to most
of the sectors being supported by this new industrial strategy,
and hopefully that will mean further expansion in the future
The new strategy aims to encourage growth by focusing
on investments in science, upgrading infrastructure and helping
increase both exports and inward investments.
But up in the board room, the company's commercial director
What is important for us is to make sure
that it has got crossbench support with Labour,
and it doesn't change every four years when we get a new Government.
We want investments lasting ten, 15 years.
Unless we can plan for that, anything less than
Elsewhere, this leading businesswomen, whose
firm makes equipment for the construction
industry, whilst welcoming the strategy, is worried that today
there was no mention of the Midlands Engine.
There is such a great industry in the Midlands.
We've got huge construction projects, huge manufacturing,
so let's hope they haven't forgotten about us.
Nearly 10% of the UK's small and medium-sized
businesses are based in the West Midlands,
and the success of the new strategy will be measured in part
More importantly, how many jobs they will
Joan Cummins is at the Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry.
Is the Midlands right to be nervous that it's been overlooked?
Businesses are always nervous until everything
is signed on the dotted line, but today the Chancellor,
We will be announcing our Midlands Engine strategy in due
course, and we will be setting out how we're going to
approach in the Midlands that we're already working on in the
In the Midlands area, there are 11 million people,
and if we can get that area operating as an effective
marketplace, it will rival and even exceed the power of London.
I am joined by the chief executive of this centre, Clive Hickman. Are
you nervous at the Midlands engine may be overlooked? I don't think it
will be. It think it was clear in the Green paper that was issued
today that the Midlands engine structure he will follow closely
behind the Northern powerhouse strategy. What will that actually
mean for us? It gives us a great opportunity, us working together to
improve productivity and growth in the Midlands. What we want to know
about is jobs. Will we see them or is it high in the sky? I think there
will be more jobs. The improvement in productivity and economy growth
will lead to more jobs. We all want to see more jobs. We understand the
Government started -- strategy will be published in the next few months
and we will know exactly how much will be plowed here into the
Midlands. Back to you. Thank you. 100 rural communities are to benefit
from life-saving medical equipment. The Four Acres Trust
is offering funding to help pay for defibrillators,
which can shock the heart back Ambulance crews were called to deal
with 14,000 cardiac arrests in the West Midlands last year,
with survival rates at just 8%. Ian Hough knows he is lucky
to be alive, but there His story, dramatised
in a video, has a happy ending because when he collapsed
with a cardiac arrest, first-aiders were on hand,
equipped with a defibrillator It means I can still carry
on with life as normal. There is nothing different that I do
now that I didn't do prior Yeah, they are just
a fantastic bit of kit. Ambulance crews and first
responders have them, too. But in remote areas,
it can take a lot longer To have a distributor
in the community, available 24/7, -- defibrillator, to be
able to train people an awareness session of how
to a defibrillator is A rural charity is putting up
?50,000 and asking communities to raise the same again to pay
for 100 new defibrillators. To some extent they are reliant
on first responders getting to an incident first, and
the ambulance arrives a little bit later, hopefully not too much later,
and that is why we are backing Ian is into the sixth year
of his extra lease of life, and should a crisis arise again,
his boat club is now properly The Midlands Canal Network
is looking for more volunteers They've been part of life on our
waterways for hundreds of years. But they're in short supply,
so a campaign has been launched to find people who can help keep
the tradition alive. Nestled in the heart of Worcester,
the canals have been an integral Jo is one of a band of volunteer
lock keepers whose job it It is about helping people, talking
to people and helping them find out what is happening in the area. You
have people who don't know the area, where is the best curry house or the
best morning, but just generally chatting to be but walking through.
This is where the canal network meets the river.
It is also one area where new volunteers are needed.
This is the first 58 locks across the stretch of the canal.
There are currently 40 volunteer lock keepers here, but
they're hoping to double that number to enhance more people's journey
They get a briefing, but if you're new to it
Knowing there is a volunteer lock keeper
there to be supportive when you need it.
The days of industty might be gone, now the canaled prosperity
comes from a different type of trade.
This cafe relies on the canal, and the owners know what an
important role the lock keepers play.
The tourist industry is very important to Worcester,
so they are helping with
that and it helps with the economics of the area.
A profession steeped in history and heritage, anyone who
would like to volunteer and try their hand at
Six army reservists from the Midlands have completed
a 1,100 mile journey across Antarctica,
a feat only ever achieved by a handful of people.
The team called Spear 17, are raising money
They finished their expedition in 66 days.
Their journey on foot took them via the South Pole.
I'll leave you with the weather forecast from Shefali Oza.
Thank you very much. Good evening. Today's fog was not the only thing
getting a lot of you talking. It was also this evening's fiery sunset
which gradually started to fizzle out towards the end of the day. This
is how the rest of the week is looking. Cold, frosty and foggy,
mostly dry and then milder by the weekend. As far as the fog is
concerned for tonight, we have a warning in place for that for dense
freezing fog which could be quite widespread. If we look at it on the
chart, it is like a big ball of cotton wool, developing very quickly
and we have a widespread frost as temperatures dipped to minus four
Celsius here in the Southwest. That is how you start the day, on a
foggy, frosty note. Tricky driving conditions around, take care. That
will gradually lift, we will see pleasant spells of sunshine in the
afternoon. Temperatures ranging from 5-7 C. Tomorrow night we do not have
as much fog because we have more cloud. That is going to keep
temperatures above freezing, so we do not have frost either, working
both ways. It will be a mild night, not as cold as today, temperatures
for most listeners down to around one or two Celsius, but as we head
into Wednesday, it means it will be a cloudy start to the day and that
cloud starts to break up, revealing some decent spells of sunshine by
the time we get to the afternoon. Temperatures ranging from around six
- seven agree Celsius. Looking ahead, it is the southerly
southeasterly breeze that will introduce colder air by the time we
get to Thursday. It looks as though it will be a westerly on the
surface, but it's originating from the South East and it means we will
see more in the way of the sunshine, so Thursday is the best day for
sunshine, cloudy or on Friday with spots of rain.
For the weekend we will have dry weather with sunny spells and it
will be a little bit milder. Good evening. We are continuing to
see huge righty in the weather. Getting the detail right is proving
to be a challenge. This was in Pembrokeshire and other parts of the
UK were gloomy throughout the day. The fog is thickening up right now.
Particularly pool on the M5 in south-west England. Very foggy
across parts of the West Country. This fog is tending to spread its