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Meeting ambulance target in county 'would cost £45m'

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Andrew Morris

An ambulance service has said the chances of meeting response times for the most critically injured patients in a county would cost an extra £45m a year.

Side of an ambulance

West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) currently has 38 vehicles on the road in Shropshire.

In England, ambulance services are expected to reach patients within an average of seven minutes but, in the county, the average time was 10 minutes 44 seconds.

At a Shropshire Council health meeting, WMAS spokesman Mark Docherty said it would need another 75 ambulances to meet the target, costing £45m.

He said instead, it wanted to see more people trained in using defibrillators with more of the machines on street corners as "this is going to help save lives more than more ambulances".

Dry weather continues - here's the full forecast

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

The dry weather's expected to continue this morning across the West Midlands with some sunshine around, here's the full forecast for today:

Alex Hamilton

If you want a latest forecast at any other time for your part of the West Midlands, head to the BBC Weather website.

Boy punched and stabbed in city centre attack

A 17-year-old boy was chased by two men before being punched and stabbed in the arm and back in Coventry, police say.

The assault happened on Far Gosford Street a about 01:30 on Saturday.

He was taken to hospital suffering injuries which are not believed to be serious, said West Midlands Police.

The force is appealing to taxi drivers who might have been in the area at the time and witnessed the assault to come forward.

Mayor launches 'Beat the Bots' fund

A scheme launched by the Mayor of the West Midlands is seeking to help retrain workers whose jobs are at risk from becoming automated.

Getty Images

Some 1.5 million people in England are at high risk of losing their jobs to automation, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Mayor Andy Street said £5m worth of funding for his Beat the Bots initiative would be made available for colleges and training providers to deliver innovative digital training.

The fund, which he said was "our way to stay ahead", represented a chance to gain digital skills "which will prepare our workforce for the jobs of the future".

“Artificial intelligence, self-driving vehicles and robotics are getting better, and, in reality, it’s only a matter of time before real people will lose out to bots in the fight for jobs," he added.

The funding comes from the government’s National Retraining Scheme, and was announced by Secretary of State for Education Damian Hinds in summer 2018, as part of the West Midlands Combined Authority's Skills Deal.

Shot fired at house

A shot has been fired towards a house in Coventry, police say.

It's believed a black Ford Focus approached the property, in Meadfoot Road, Willenhall, before a person shot at the door.

The residents of the property had moved out, said West Midlands Police, so no-one was injured.

The attack happened at about 20:30 on Saturday.

BreakingCharges to be introduced for Godiva Festival

Tickets are to be introduced for Coventry's Godiva Festival, in a bid to "manage visitor numbers safely" and mark an end to its free entry.

Although it needn't break the bank.

Godiva Festival

The annual festival, which attracts more than 120,000 people, will introduce a £2 administration fee to support the move to tickets.

A £10 on-site parking fee is also being introduced, although entry is remaining free for under 5s.

Godiva Festival

The city council spent £460,000 staging the free show in 2018 - three times higher than its original £150,000 budget.

It has set aside an extra £400,000 funding for this year to make a "more realistic" budget of £550,000, it said.

Last year’s event was estimated to generate £2.3m in economic activity by bringing tens of thousands of extra visitors to the city, the local authority said.

This year's festival will take place on 5-7 July in the War Memorial Park.

Image of man released after women 'harassed'

Officers have issued a picture of a man they'd like to speak to after reports of women being approached by a man making inappropriate comments and harassing them.

West Midlands Police

The incidents are believed to have happened on Spencer Avenue and Warwick Road in the Earlsdon area of Coventry.

Teens in care 'abandoned to crime gangs'

BBC Newsnight

Thousands of teenagers in care are being "dumped" in unregulated homes and "abandoned to organised crime gangs", the BBC has been told.

The number of looked-after children aged 16 and over living in unregistered accommodation in England has increased 70% in a decade, Newsnight has found.

Young person

The West Midlands has seen a big increase in the use of unregulated accommodation - up from 280 in 2009 to 610 children in 2018.

Police forces have raised concerns, saying criminals see the premises as an easy target for recruitment.

Video: What's the weekend weather got in store?

Rebecca Wood

BBC Midlands Today

It will be a cloudy night with some patchy rain and lows of 8C (46F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Police cleared over chase that ended in fatal crash

An inquiry has concluded police were not for blame for a crash that killed a young woman in Birmingham last July.

Sarah Giles (pictured below) died and her boyfriend was seriously injured when Branden Daniels lost control of a stolen Audi A3 and crashed into their vehicle.

He had been pursued by West Midlands Police officers, but the Independent Office for Police Conduct said the chase had been "authorised, proportionate and carried out in accordance with local and national policy".

Sarah Giles
West Midlands Police

The IOPC also said: "The police officers drove a safe distance behind the stolen vehicle and ultimately it was the manner in which the Audi was driven which led to such tragic consequences."

Rail delays expected until 15:00 as line blocked

BBC News Travel

An incident between Birmingham Moor Street and Solihull, which is blocking the railway lines, is expected to cause disruption until 15:00.

The incident is affecting Chiltern Raildways, Cross Country and West Midlands Railway services.

Tickets are being accepted on other services and some bus routes.

View more on twitter

Clean Air Zone 'won't work in city'

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Tom Davis

A Clean Air Zone will not work in Coventry as the city is simply too small, a leading council cabinet member has said, fearing the move would be “shutting off the city”.

Coventry city centre

The government has rejected Coventry City Council’s measures to reduce high levels of pollution and ordered it to implement a clean air zone “as soon as possible”.

Such a change would force the most polluting buses, coaches, taxis, PHVs, HGVs LGVs and cars to pay a daily pollution charge.

But Councillor Jim O’Boyle has accused the government of ruling “with an iron fist”, adding a clean air zone would not work in a city the size of Coventry – and said it would fail to reduce nitrogen dioxide (NO2) quicker than the council’s own plan.

The council has been told to revise its plan by 14 June.

Knife offenders 'don't have anything to lose'

The Chief Constable of West Midlands Police says the £7m extra funding his force has been given by the government to tackle knife crime will help, but won't solve the problem.

Knife crime West Midlands

Figures published by the police showed in the year up to September in the West Midlands force area there were 3,108 offences recorded, a rise of 19% on the year before and almost double the number recorded in 2013.

Dave Thompson said some offenders "didn't have anything to lose" and were "not thinking about the consequences" of their actions.

"There's got to be a dread of detection, a dread of the consequences, but you know I've looked at some of the cases we had, cases where really the likelihood of the offender being caught is obvious and yet, you know, the incident results in a murder.

"Perhaps because they don't think they have anything to lose and don't live a life where they think anymore further than the immediate."

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

It will be a cool day with lots of cloud and highs of 16C (61F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Video: What's the weather got in store?

Shefali Oza

BBC Midlands Today

It will be a cloudy night with some light showers and lows of 6C (43F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

'A great honour' for Coventry's new mayor

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Tom Davis

The new Mayor of Coventry has described her appointment as a “great honour and privilege”.

Councillor Linda Bigham

Councillor Linda Bigham was sworn in at Coventry Cathedral today, watched on by her three children, three grandchildren, and husband Kerry.

The 71-year-old Labour councillor, originally from Birmingham, has represented the city's Longford ward since 2004.

“I cannot believe I am in this position and it is only now that you realise what a journey you have been on," she said.

2019 European elections: How many new MEPs might you get?

BBC News

Half of the existing MEPs in the West Midlands are not contesting the upcoming European Parliament elections.

European parliament
Getty Images

There are 72 UK MEPs currently serving, with one seat vacant. Of those, 43 are seeking re-election and there are 548 other new candidates.

That means at least 30 of those elected from 23-26 May might either never take their seats or serve only a few months if the UK leaves the European Union by the end of October.

Here are some facts and figures about the choice voters have about who represents them in Brussels and Strasbourg.

Man dies after mobility scooter crash

A man involved in a crash with a van while riding a mobility scooter in Coventry has been described as having an "enormous zest for life".

Mick Morrison
Family handout

Mick Morrison was crossing Allesley Old Road at the junction of Brookside Avenue at 10:30 on Monday 6 May.

He died in hospital on Wednesday.

The driver of the van, a 43-year-old man, remained at the scene and is cooperating with the inquiry, said West Midlands Police.

The 76-year-old victim, who had been living with Parkinson's disease, believed in "living life to the full", said his wife, including flying to Las Vegas "four or five times a year".

"His death has left an enormous void in our lives and he will be missed dreadfully as I have lost not only my husband but also my best friend," she added.

European Commission 'assessing' Ricoh sale to Wasps

The European Commission says it is currently assessing a complaint it has received in connection with the sale of Coventry's Ricoh Arena to Wasps.

Ricoh Arena
Getty Images

Coventry City's owner Sisu has taken its legal complaint to Europe after the Supreme Court threw out its appeal over a judicial review into the sale by Coventry City Council.

Sisu claims the Ricoh was undervalued by £28m, and is asking the European Commission to see if the deal breaks state-aid rules.

The European Union has rules on how much government money can be given to commercial enterprises to ensure one does not get an unfair advantage over another.

An EU spokesperson said: "The Commission has received a complaint regarding the sale of the Ricoh Arena to Wasps Rugby Club and is currently assessing it in line with its standard procedures."

Coventry City had been in talks to stay longer at the Ricoh Arena, but Wasps chief executive Nick Eastwood said the club had "entered such discussions in good faith" and that because the case had been taken to the EU, its conditions for negotiations hadn't been met.

English Football League clubs will discuss the issue on 29 May.

Government invests further £28m in Coventry electric car tech

The Government has given a further £28m to an electric car battery development centre in Coventry.

Electric vehicle

Business Secretary Greg Clark is set to announce the funding for the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre, which is on top of an £80m initial investment.

West Midlands mayor Andy Street said the centre was a "major coup" for the city and the wider West Midlands.

The cash is part of the Local Industrial Strategy to boost the region's economy.

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

After a fine start it will a dry sunny day with some cloud and highs of 17C (63F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

More dry weather on the way tonight

Shefali Oza

BBC Midlands Today

The dry, fine weather's set to continue tonight in the West Midlands - here's the full forecast for the night and tomorrow:

Shefali Oza

To get a latest forecast for your area at any other time, head to the BBC Weather website.

In the papers: Congestion charge ordered for city roads

Coventry Live

Here's a look at the headlines on the Coventry Live website today:

Coventry ordered to introduce clean air zone charges

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Tom Davis

Coventry has been ordered by the government to introduce a clean air zone, which would charge owners of the most polluting vehicles.

The city council had put forward alternative proposals, including electric taxis, cleaner buses and new walking and cycling buses, after being told to reduce nitrogen dioxide levels, but they failed to impress the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Coventry City Council

The council has been told to introduce the clean air zone "as soon as possible", but the member responsible for jobs and regeneration, Jim O'Boyle said the economic impact of a congestion charge would be "pretty extreme”.

Coventry City Council has been contacted for a comment.

Makeshift spear found in drugs raid

A makeshift ‘spear’ made from a kitchen knife taped to a broom handle has been found during a drugs raid in Coventry.

Police officers smashed through two doors, one of them made of reinforced metal to get into a flat in Jenner Street, Foleshill, at 10:00 yesterday.

West Midlands Police

Other weapons and suspected drugs were also found at the property.

Two men, aged 18 and 19, were arrested in a rear garden having jumped from a window, while women, aged 19 and 34, a 46-year-old man and a 14-year-old boy were detained inside.

All six were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.

Another dry, sunny day

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

Any early patches of mist should soon clear away leaving a dry and fine, sunny day.

Here's the full forecast for the West Midlands for Wednesday:

Alex Hamilton

You can get a latest forecast for your part of the region at any other time by going to the BBC Weather website.

City millennium project at risk of 'closing for second time'

One of Coventry's oldest heritage sites could close for a second time after failing to attract adequate funding for the site, a group says.

Priory Centre

The Priory visitor centre, which formed part of the city's £24m Millennium development, was closed in February 2016 after its grant was withdrawn by the city council.

A social enterprise group that reopened the centre now says it's at risk of closing later this month due to lack of funds.

Priory Centre

The centre was designed to showcase the remains of the city's original 12th Century cathedral and priory.

Founding director Carole Donnelly, who's been in charge of the centre for three years, says the "stunning site" is currently run by volunteers after failing to be awarded National Lottery funding.

"We've got a great story to tell," she added, "but unfortunately can't keep doing it for nothing."

Video: What's the weather got in store?

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

It will be a dry night with mainly clear skies and lows of 3C (37F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands