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Summary

  1. Updates from Wednesday 3 December 2014
  2. More news, sport, travel and weather from 08:00 on Thursday

Live Reporting

By Stephanie Barnard

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Goodbye

That's all from Local Live today. We'll be back with more news, sport, travel and weather updates from 08:00 on Thursday.

Overnight forecast

It will be mainly dry with clear spells this evening, but will quickly turn cold with a frost developing.

Shefali with the weather for Wednesday
BBC

It will become cloudier in places from the east overnight and there may be some patchy rain or drizzle, mainly in the east, with a low of -2C (28F).

On BBC One at 18:30

Nick Owen

Presenter, Midlands Today

Besides reaction to the chancellor's Autumn Statement, there's a marked Christmas feel to Midlands Today this evening.

Roy Wood speaks to BBC Midlands Today
BBC

We've got a fabulous feature with Brummie rocker Roy Wood (pictured). The man who founded the Move, ELO and then Wizzard is synonymous with the festive season of course, because of his timeless song I Wish It Could be Christmas Every Day, which was written more than 40 years ago.

Lorry drivers 'swap over' at the wheel

Two lorry drivers have been arrested after police officers saw them "swap over" at the wheel while travelling on the M5.

Central Motorway Policing Group tweeted that two Serbian HGV drivers were on their way to custody for alleged dangerous driving.

Cause of fire unknown

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

West Midlands Fire Service says it's started its investigations to find out how a blaze at an industrial estate in Smethwick started this morning.

Group commander Ben Diamond says: "We've got about 30 firefighters at the scene. Our investigations team are at the scene to try and determine the cause."

West Midlands didn't get a look-in

Susana Mendonca

BBC West Midlands political reporter

People in low paid work will see their tax credits frozen at a time when living standards are lower than expected.

And while there was plenty of talk from the chancellor about helping the cities of the North to develop, the West Midlands didn't get a look-in in his

Autumn Statement.

Have your say

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

We've introduced BBC Local Live to bring you news, sport, travel and weather updates in one place.

We'd like to find out what you think.

News on the hour

Rob Mayor

Journalist, BBC WM

In the news at 17:00: New guidelines say it's

safer for women considered at a low risk from complications to give birth at home with the help of midwives - rather than in hospital with doctors.

Shortly on

BBC WM we'll hear from a senior lecturer of midwifery at Birmingham City University.

Pressure on for Midlands Powerhouse

Patrick Burns

Political editor, Midlands

"We have delivered in Manchester and my door is open to other cities who want to follow their cross-party lead."

George Osborne's overture to major cities who have yet to benefit from the sort of largesse he showered on the "Northern Powerhouse" during his Autumn Statement clearly ramps up the pressure on council leaders in places like Coventry and Solihull.

Read more on my blog.

School's arson appeal

Elizabeth Glinka

Presenter, BBC Midlands Today

A school in Birmingham has launched an appeal to replace toys that were destroyed in an arson attack.

Greenwood Academy, Castle Vale
BBC

A fire at Greenwood Academy in Castle Vale destroyed an office used by the school's breakfast club.

It's started an appeal to replace the games and it's hoped the building will be refurbished in time for Christmas.

Stamp duty overhaul

Susana Mendonca

BBC West Midlands political reporter

The Chancellor's stamp duty overhaul means that getting on the housing ladder in the West Midlands just got a bit more affordable.

Meanwhile the cut to air passenger tax for kids means it'll be cheaper to go on holiday; and the tax you pay on petrol is staying where it is with an election looming.

News on the hour

Rob Mayor

Journalist, BBC WM

Our top story in the news bulletin at 16:00 on

BBC WM: George Osborne praised efforts to turn Manchester into a Northern Powerhouse in his last
Autumn Statement before the general election next year.

And says he is willing to join efforts to create something similar in the West Midlands.

Buble opens NIA after revamp

Birmingham Post

International music star Michael Bublé

wowed crowds as the new National Indoor Arena opened following a £26 million redevelopment.

Firefighters' briefing

Ward End fire has tweeted a photo of the team having a briefing before tackling the blaze in Smethwick earlier.

Firefighters tacklling Smethwick fire
West midlands fire

Public outrage over parking charges

Express and Star

Walsall Council today revealed that the public reaction to bringing in charges at free car parks around the borough was

among the strongest it's ever had.

News on the hour

Rob Mayor

Newsreader, BBC WM

In the

news at 15:00, a man who was seriously injured in an explosion at a flat in Birmingham has died in hospital.

Winning ways for Villa

Nick Clitheroe

Sports editor, BBC Midlands Today

Aston Villa are up to 12th in the Premier League table after their

1-0 win over Crystal Palace last night.

Aston Villa's Chritian Benteke
Getty Images

The sheer quality that Christian Benteke (pictured) brings to the team was emphasised once again by his goal. It's also four games unbeaten but I don't think anyone is getting carried away yet.

Men who stole luxury cars jailed

Birmingham Mail

A pair of prolific Birmingham car thieves who

stole luxury cars from properties across the Midlands have been jailed following an undercover police sting.

Fresh bid for Blues

Richard Wilford

BBC WM Sport

Former Swindon Town owner Jeremy Wray (pictured) says he has tabled a fresh bid for Birmingham City Football Club.

Former Swindon Town owner Jeremy Wray
Getty Images

Mr Wray tells me his current offer was made on 1 November, but he's not been given permission to do an updated due diligence.

The club's current owners Birmingham International Holdings have been reluctant to sell as it would jeopardise the company's listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. However, Mr Wray believes there is a way of progressing the deal without them losing their status.

News on the hour

Rob Mayor

Journalist, BBC WM

West Midlands Fire Service says it's scaling down following the blaze in Smethwick this morning.

At its height, more than 80 fire officers were at the scene. The service says it will take the number down to 30.

Hear more in the news on

BBC WM shortly.

Man dies after flat blast

A man injured in a blast at a flat in south Birmingham last week has died,

police say.

Scene of explosion
BBC

Tobias Gordon, 32, died in hospital yesterday. A 27-year-old man who was also injured remains in hospital in a serious but stable condition

Emergency services were sent to Aldersmead Road, West Heath, on 23 November.

Coming up

Elizabeth Glinka

Presenter, BBC Midlands Today

We've got a reporter live at the industrial fire in Smethwick which has closed a number local roads and a primary school.

Firefighters at the scene of the fire in Smethwick
BBC

Plus, we'll also have a report on the performance of the region's clubs in the Premier League last night, including a much awaited win for Aston Villa away at Crystal palace.

Join me on BBC One at 13:30.

News on the hour

Rob Mayor

Journalist, BBC WM

Two brothers have been banned from their own home in Handsworth Wood because of anti-social behaviour.

Neighbours had complained about the 44 and 46-year-old men, making allegations of drug use and dealing.

Hear more on this story and others in the news at 13:00 on

BBC WM.

Coming up today

Abigail Uden

Producer, BBC Midlands Today

We took an early call this morning about a

fire at an industrial estate in Smethwick.

We have our satellite truck out there now and our reporter Nicola Beckford has been to talk to the head teacher of a nearby school which has been forced to close today. There's still a huge plume of smoke above the area.

And of course we're keeping across the

chancellor's Autumn Statement so we can assess its impact on the Midlands.

Autumn Statement

Patrick Burns

Political editor, Midlands

Unlocking £1bn for small and medium businesses and reviewing business rates should please Midlands firms and retailers.

Follow a live feed of the Autumn Statement online now.

'School isn't damaged'

The head teacher of Wattville Primary School says it's closed to pupils today after advice from the fire service following the

nearby blaze in Smethwick.

Joanne Roache says: "I'm at the school now and it's not a pretty sight. The smoke is really thick. The air quality is very poor. The fire service, they want to ensure that if the wind changed direction nobody would be in any danger."

She adds: "The school isn't damaged. We're waiting to hear from the fire service as to whether we open tomorrow."

Stuck in a losing rut

Nick Clitheroe

Sports editor, BBC Midlands Today

Just a month ago it was

Aston Villa who were sliding relentlessly down the
Premier League table, now it's
West Bromwich Albion who find themselves stuck in a losing rut.

Premier League table on 3 December 2014
BBC

They were 10th when they won at Leicester on 1 November, but four straight defeats have seen them slip to 16th and the fans are getting increasingly infuriated.

News on the hour

Rob Mayor

Journalist, BBC WM

In the news at 12:00: People living near the scene of a

large fire in Smethwick are being asked to keep their windows and doors shut.

NIA reopens

The reopening of Birmingham's National Indoor Arena attracted 16,000 people last night.

Michael Buble at Birmingham's Barclaycard Arena
BBC

The £26m refit has taken 18 months and it's now called the

Barclaycard Arena.

Michael Bublé (pictured) was the first person to perform there last night, where there was also a VIP reception.

Smethwick smoke

Email: locallive@bbc.co.uk

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

Thanks to

Nigel Carter who took this photo of the fire in Smethwick while on his way to work this morning on Rabone Lane.

Smoke over Smethwick
Nigel carter

Email or
tweet us your photos if it's safe to do so and let us know if it's affecting you.

News on the hour

Steve Hermon

Journalist, BBC WM

In the news at 11:00: The chancellor will deliver his Autumn Statement on the state of the nation's finances today.

We'll have local reaction in the news bulletin.

Engines off for boy racers

Lucy Townsend

BBC News Magazine

A judge has banned "car cruise" events in the Black Country in a crackdown on "boy racers".

But what can be said in their defence?

Donny Cruise
ALAMY