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Chancellor's Autumn Statement - key points so far

Our political correspondent Alison Mackenzie is scrutinising the Chancellor's Autumn Statement to see how it will affect businesses and households here in the Midlands.


Business leaders welcome reported Qatari HS2 investment

Business leaders in Birmingham have welcomed reports of a proposed investment from the Qatari royal family in the city's planned HS2 station.

An aerial view of how Curzon Street station could look Credit: HS2 Limited

The Emir of Qatar visited the UK last month, and reportedly told Prime Minister David Cameron that the Gulf state were particularly interested in investing in the regeneration planned in central Birmingham.

The Curzon Street station would become one of the largest new stations in Britain for over a century, if the plans for the HS2 station were to come to fruition.

The plans there also include building 2,000 homes and 600,000 square metres of office space in the area.

We should celebrate that any major development in Birmingham attracts global interest so it is no surprise that Curzon Street is attracting widespread attention. It was always the case that HS2 would need to be backed by private investment.

– Jerry Blackett, Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GBCC)

Many Midlands parents struggling with schooling costs

New research says three quarters of parents in the West Midlands, and more than half in the East Midlands, struggle to keep up with the basic costs of their child's schooling.

Three-quarters of parents are struggling with the basic costs of schooling Credit: Barry Batchelor/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The Children's Society says in total £504million is spent to meet the basic costs of children's schooling.

Individually, parents in the West Midlands spend £679 per child per year, and in the East Midlands £800 per child per year, on:

  • uniforms
  • sports kits
  • school meals
  • trips
  • books
  • stationary
  • computers for homework
  • travel to/from school
  • summer clubs/activities

Thousands of Midlanders to join pay march

Thousands of people from the Midlands will travel to London later to join protests calling for a pay rise.

Unions say people are facing the biggest squeeze on their incomes since Victorian times Credit: Tim Goode/EMPICS Entertainment

The demonstrations in London have been organised by the TUC under the banner 'Britain Needs A Pay Rise'.

It follows several days of industrial action by public sector workers from in the region, with nurses, midwives and civil servants taking part.

The government says that the economy is growing. But that is not true for most people’s pay packets.

For women the situation is particularly bleak.

In some parts of Birmingham, such as Erdington and Perry Barr, half the women with part-time jobs earn less than the living wage.

– Frances O'Grady, TUC

Govt: 'Unemployment fall down to revival in manufacturing'

Unemployment in the West Midlands has fallen by 9,000 in the three months up to July, official figures have revealed.

It is the biggest fall of any region in the UK with the number of people unemployed in the region now below the 200,000 mark.

Meanwhile unemployment in the East Midlands fell by 12,000, bringing the number of people out of a job down to 130,000.

Iain Duncan Smith, the government's Work and Pensions Secretary, says it is down to a revival in manufacturing - but added there was still work to be done.


West Midlands has largest annual unemployment fall in UK

The West Midlands has had the largest annual fall in unemployment in the UK.

Employment has risen in the West Midlands by 57,000 Credit: PA

That's according to the latest unemployment figures which show that employment has risen by 57,000.

Nationally the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance has now dropped below 1 million and unemployment has seen the largest annual fall in a quarter of a century.

Local economy to get boost from extra school meals

Nottinghamshire's economy will be boosted by the extra 12,000 school meals served to pupils this year.

Nottinghamshire County Council sources much of it's school meals locally Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire/Press Association Images

All infants are now entitled to free school meals. It is a move which will bring a further £600,000 per year to local suppliers.

During the last school year, the council spent £1.7million providing meals for children at school, which will now rise to £2.3million.

It has been our policy to locally source the majority of the food we use for school meals for a number of years now. And with anticipated take-up of dinners under the Government scheme likely to be as high as 85%, we expect to spend over £600,000 more each year on meat, fish, potatoes, fruit, milk and eggs from suppliers all based here in the region, which in turn will provide a healthy boost the local economy.

– Cllr Sheila Place, Nottinghamshire County Council
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Thousands flock to Chatsworth county fair

It's the second day of Chatsworth Country fair and thousands more visitors are expected to flock to the stately home in North Derbyshire as it opens its doors for the biggest country fair in the UK.

The three day event, which brings together the best food, displays and crafts on offer, continues tomorrow. And yesterday there was some gold medal talent getting it all under way as Martin fisher reports.

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