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One in four Midlands workers earn less than living wage

Nearly 900,000 people in the Midlands earn less than the living wage Credit: PA Wire

One in four workers in the Midlands earn less than the living wage, according to new report.

The annual living wage report by KPMG, published today, estimates that nearly 900,000 workers in the region earn less than the living wage.

The living wage is the amount an individual needs to cover the basic costs of living. It is currently set at £7.65 outside London.

People deserve a fair day’s pay for an honest day’s work. But low pay is blighting the lives of hundreds of thousands of families in the West Midlands...

The fact is there are employers out there in the Midlands who can afford to pay living wages, but aren’t.

It is now time for all responsible employers to commit to adopting this standard, which enables workers to earn just enough to be able to live a decent life.

– Lee Barron, TUC Regional Secretary for the Midlands

Train contract boost for Midlands firms

Seven Midlands firms have been chosen to supply parts for a major new rail contract.

An artist's impression of the interior of one of the new carriages Credit: Hitachi Rail Europe Ltd

They have been selected to help build trains for the first phase of the government's multibillion pound Intercity Express Programme.

The companies chosen are:

  • - Balfour Beatty Rail (unmanned geometry measurement systems – UGMS), Derby
  • - Dellner (Train gangways and couplers), Derby
  • - Eminox (exhaust systems), Gainsborough
  • - Harting (jumper cable systems), Northampton
  • - Trent Instruments (cab equipment), Nottingham
  • - Arrowvale Electronics (driver safety devices), Worcester
  • - DCA Design International (interior train design), Warwick

Business Secretary Vince Cable has described the announcement as a major boost for Midlands firms:

“The Government is committed to helping companies attract inward investment to develop strong, coordinated and competitive supply chains here in the UK.

"We have created a new Rail Supply Chain Forum to help British businesses win work both here and abroad and I am greatly encouraged to see that world leading companies such as Hitachi are placing their confidence in UK suppliers.”

– Business Secretary Vince Cable


Rural crime cost Midlands £10.6m last year

Edale in Derbyshire in the East Midlands. The cost of rural thefts has increased by 38% across the region, one of the biggest rises in the country. Credit: Edward Smith/EMPICS Entertainment

A new report has found the Midlands is among the hardest-hit areas in the country by thieves targeting equipment, livestock and even fuel.

Last year rural crime cost the region £10.6m, according to figures from NFU Mutual.

In the West Midlands the total was £4.5m, a rise of 9%, while in the East Midlands it was more than £6m, an increase of 38%.

The insurance firm say the rise is down to three main factors:

  • High-value tractors being stolen and then sold abroad
  • A 'substantial' rise in sheep rustling
  • Thieves targeting garden tools and ornaments

Firefighters in Midlands walk out over pensions dispute

Firefighters will strike later today Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

Firefighters in the Midlands will walk out today in a week of strike action in a dispute over pensions.

They will walk out between 12noon and 2:00pm and then between 11:00pm and midnight.

The government has previously said strike action is disrupting talks and will damage firefighters' reputation.


Passport workers strike over ongoing backlog crisis

Thousands of passport workers are striking today as the Summer holidays get underway. Credit: Edward Smith/EMPICS Entertainment

Thousands of passport workers are striking today as the Summer holidays get underway.

They have taken the action in a bid to end staffing shortages which have caused an ongoing backlog crisis, with holiday-goers left waiting for their renewed passports.

It could affect holiday plans for families across the Midlands.

A new recruitment drive is underway but many of the posts being advertised are not permanent jobs and are only likely to replace 8% of staff needed. The Passport Office has cut hundreds of staff since 2010 but the agency only agreed to meet the union to seriously discuss jobs after recent media and political scrutiny.

– Public and Commercial Services union

1 and a half hour delays on M6 due to motorway closure

There are 1 and a half hour delays on the M6 southbound following reports of a piece of an unsafe bridge falling onto the road.

It's affecting traffic between junctions 19 and 18 after the road was shut earlier this morning.

It's expected to re-open from 10.30am.

M6 closure after reports of bridge falling onto road

Part of the M6 remains shut this morning following reports that a piece of an unsafe bridge collapsed onto the motorway.

It happened between J17 and 16 on the Southbound carriageway.

The bridge is between Manor Rd and Reynolds Lane, near to Sandbach services.

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