Media Watch – Feb 1

Top Birmingham City Council Stories

Warmer weather for Brrrrrrum (Birmingham Mail) Gritting teams were back out on Birmingham’s roads early today after a weekend of freezing temperatures.

Oil dumped at nature haven (Birmingham Mail) an emergency team of specialists had to be called out after fly-tippers dumped engine oil at a Birmingham beauty spot – endangering hundreds of wild birds.

Ask people how to spend £40,000 grant, urges MP (Birmingham Mail) A Birmingham MP has called on the city council to talk to a community which has been awarded government funding to ensure cash is well spent.

Council to survey private housing (Birmingham Mail) Private home owners across Birmingham are to get their properties surveyed free of charge by the city council. http://birminghamnewsroom.com/?p=7012

Splash out…give us back our Sunday swims (Birmingham Mail) Residents have criticised cutbacks planned at a Birmingham pool (Castle Vale Pool) which will leave children just four hours a week to swim.

Council chief’s sick leave row (Sunday Mercury) An equalities boss at a crisis-hit council received up to £175,000 in wages – despite being off work for four years. Rajpal Virdee, 50, has been absent from Birmingham City Council since 2006 yet has collected his £50,000 annual salary for most of that period.

Big freeze potholes cost £6m (Birmingham Mail, Sunday Mercury) The bill for repairing Birmingham’s potholed roads after two harsh winters in a row has shot up to £6.1million. http://birminghamnewsroom.com/?p=7001

Woman ordered to pay £13,000 after fraud (Birmingham Mail) A Birmingham woman has been ordered to repay almost £13,000 after claiming benefit she was not entitled to. Birmingham City Council has successfully prosecuted 517 fraudsters this year. http://birminghamnewsroom.com/?p=7007

Half of new jobs owe existence to the state (Sunday Times) Nearly three-fifths of the growth in jobs under Labour during a decade in power was directly or indirectly created by the state, new research shows. Peter Williams, a former Rover worker now with BCC quoted.

Rainy days full of fun (Sunday Times) BMAG’s How Art is Made exhibition featured in article on ‘indoor fun’.

Man in the Midlands (Property Week) Director of Regeneration Waheed Nazir profiles strategic projects across the city.

Moseley green campaigners call for support at city council planning committee (AboutMyArea) Moseley green campaigners are calling for supporters to lobby the city council’s planning committee meeting this Thursday in support of a plan to install solar panels on the roof of St Mary’s Church.

Regional Headlines

A Birmingham factory is ruined in a ‘suspicious’ fire
An asbestos-roofed factory in Birmingham has been almost completely destroyed in a “suspicious” fire. Fire crews were called to Rea Street in Digbeth at 0825 GMT, where they found the 40m (131ft) by 25m (82ft) fabrics factory fully ablaze.

Ten injured in two-car collision in Birmingham
Ten people were hospitalised – one a six-year-old with serious injuries – after a road collision in Birmingham.

Police hunt after man shot in leg in Walsall
A 20-year-old man is said to be in a stable condition in hospital after being shot in the leg in Walsall

National Headlines

Thousands ‘to miss out on degree’
Universities are warning that thousands of youngsters could miss out on degree course places in England, as the details of spending cuts are set out.

Ministers aim to halve number of people smoking by 2020
A plan to halve the number of smokers in England over the next 10 years has been unveiled by ministers.

DUP and Sinn Fein ‘on brink of deal on policing’
There is intense speculation that the DUP and Sinn Fein are close to signing a deal on the transfer of policing and justice powers to Northern Ireland.

Second man arrested in Polish woman murder inquiry
A second man has been arrested on suspicion of murdering a Polish woman thought to have been drowned in a bath.

Terry Pratchett ready to be test case for suicide law
Sir Terry Pratchett says he is ready to be a test case for assisted suicide “tribunals” which could give people legal permission to end their lives.

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