14:48 UK time, Thursday, 5 December 2013
Chancellor George Osborne says in his Autumn Statement he hopes tax breaks for small retailers can trigger a revival on the High Street.
A man who murdered his former partner and her baby son in a "shocking and senseless" attack is jailed for life.
A 34-year-old man appears in court charged with attempted murder after a stabbing in Birmingham at the weekend.
Warwickshire and England all-rounder Chris Woakes has signed a new two-year contract at Edgbaston
That's the end of today's updates. We'll be back with more news, sport, travel and weather from 08:00 on Thursday.
I'm just going through the scripts for one last time before heading into the studio.
Our top story is the number of foreign nurses being recruited by our hospitals because they can't get enough locally trained staff. Does it matter where they're trained? I'll ask the Royal College of Nurses.
Also on the programme, any idea how much shoplifting is adding to your Christmas shopping bill? It's £43m - and that's just here in the Midlands. Join me at 18:30 on BBC One.
It will be dry this evening and, with largely clear skies, it is likely to be rather chilly.
It will become increasingly cloudy later in the night, which will lift temperatures slightly and may lead to some patchy hill fog, with lows of 0C (32F).
Wesley Williams killed Ms Walsh and her baby while another woman he had broken up with, Rebecca Shuttleworth, was standing trial for the murder of her own two-year-old son.
Details of Williams' previous relationship with Shuttleworth, who was jailed for life in June for killing Keanu Williams, could not previously be reported due to a court order.
Wesley Williams killed Yvonne Walsh out of anger after her rejection, reports ITV News.
In his BBC WM interview, Sarbjit Johal, of West Midlands Police, says three families have been torn apart by the double murder.
He says: "The most horrific thing is Yvonne's daughter Jessica, who is three, still cries out for her mother. She'd just got used to having a brother who was seven months old.
"She's in our minds and hopefully her family will get a small comfort from him [Wesley Williams] being sentenced today."
Det Ch Insp Sarbjit Johal, from the homicide investigation team, tells BBC WM Wesley Williams has "shown no remorse" for the murders of his former partner and her seven-month old son.
Williams had previously dated Rebecca Shuttleworth, jailed for the murder of her son Keanu Williams (pictured). He killed Yvonne and Harrison Walsh while Shuttleworth was on trial in Birmingham for the crime.
BBC WM presenter Paul Franks asked the police officer if Wesley Williams was Keanu's father. Mr Johal replied: "No he wasn't."
Sentencing Wesley Williams, Mr Justice MacDuff told him: "You posted messages on Yvonne's Facebook about it and you behaved in a totally relaxed way, apparently enjoying the next two or so days in the company of friends before you were arrested, behaving normally as though nothing had happened, as though this was a mere trifle.
"You are the only person who knows precisely why you acted as you did, but it is clear that you could not accept being rejected by Yvonne Walsh when you were proposing or intending to propose marriage, and she wanted no further part in a relationship with you."
Wesley Williams sentenced to life imprisonment for the double murder of Yvonne Walsh and her baby son Harrison.
Birmingham Crown Court was told Williams made comments on Facebook almost immediately after he murdered his ex-partner and her son.
In a post to his own Facebook account timed at 20:54 on Friday 31 May, Williams wrote: "Sometimes we just have to do things we shouldn't."
Evil Wesley Williams is jailed for life after killing his former girlfriend and her baby boy.
Williams throttled Yvonne Walsh and her baby while another woman he had broken up with, Rebecca Shuttleworth (pictured), was standing trial at the same court for the murder of her own two-year-old son, Keanu Williams.
Details of Williams' previous relationship with Shuttleworth, who was jailed for life in June for killing Keanu, could not be reported by the media until today, when a court order was lifted by the judge.
Halesowen Street in Rowley Regis is closed at the Horner Way junction because of a burst water main. A diversion is in operation, via Long Lane and Horner Way. Read more on BBC Travel News.
Yvonne Walsh's brother Chris Walsh says his family are struggling to come to terms with the double murder.
In a statement released by West Midlands Police, he says: "Words cannot describe how we feel. Yvonne was so joyful, she was the centre of attention because she was always so happy and such a doting mum. She loved her kids wholeheartedly.
"We are all there for each other but it is so difficult and emotional."
Rowley Regis is hit by water problems as a main bursts, reports the paper.
Wesley Williams had been released from prison on licence on 14 February this year after serving a five-year jail term for attacking his sister's ex-partner with a hammer, says the CPS.
After murdering Yvonne and Harrison Walsh, Williams sent a text message to his police offender manager admitting he had killed his ex-partner, a university graduate, and where her body could be found.
Problems between Williams and Ms Walsh began when she rejected Williams' proposal of marriage, head of the West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service's Public Protection Unit Sarah Hammond says.
Williams had begun a relationship with Ms Walsh months before her death and had moved into her family home, Ms Hammond says.
Wesley Williams used a ligature to carry out the "chilling, casual and calculated" killings of Yvonne and Harrison Walsh, who were found dead in their beds in June, reports the Press Association.
He used text messages and Facebook to announce what he had done.
Jailing Williams for life at Birmingham Crown Court, Mr Justice MacDuff described him as being "clearly evil and dangerous beyond measure".
The Crown Prosecution Service says Wesley Williams drove off in his former partner's car, after killing her and her baby son, and was later seen in McDonald's with a friend appearing in "good spirits".
Double killer Wesley Williams has been jailed for a minimum of 29 years.
At a court hearing last week, Wesley Williams admitted the "shocking and senseless" murders of his ex-partner and her baby son.
After Williams, of Chells Grove, admitted his guilt, West Midlands Police confirmed Harrison was found dead in his cot with the curtains of his room drawn.
Yvonne Walsh and her seven-month-old son Harrison were strangled by Wesley Williams, 29, at their home in Billesley, Birmingham.
Post-mortem examinations found the 25-year-old mother and her son both died of pressure to the neck, but pathologists could not ascertain who was killed first.
Wesley Williams has been jailed at Birmingham Crown Court for a minimum of 29 years for the murders of his ex-partner and her seven-month-old son.
I was chatting with Barbara Windsor, as she's a patron of Age UK, and we talked about my pensioner Christmas party here at BBC WM on 25 December.
She told me I was a hero for organising it and says I should buy everyone some face cream as a present! Seriously, though, she did say we should all think of those elderly people who will be on their own at Christmas time.
If you know someone you think should be part of our Christmas do, get in touch. It's free and we want to hear your nominations.
People in Birmingham will be asked this weekend for their views on plans to cut public transport spending by £14m, BBC Midlands Today reports.
Staff from the transport authority Centro will be in Birmingham city centre on Saturday to gather people's opinions.
Proposals include increasing child fares, cutting bus routes and reducing ring-and-ride services.
Daily flights to Newquay from Birmingham Airport are being introduced from Summer 2014. Flybe says the service will run from May to September next year.
West Midlands Police tweets: Know this man who stole 33 tins of fish on 31 Oct from Co-op in Kingstanding? Help us 'reel' him in. Pls RT #wmpxmas
Warwickshire have secured the services of their England all-rounder Chris Woakes until the end of the 2016 season, the 24-year old signing a two-year extension.
Woakes' tale is that of a local boy made good having joined the Bears as an 11-year old, and he will be doubly determined to rekindle his international career with some good performances at Edgbaston.
Although his one Test appearance this summer failed to cement a place on the Ashes tour, Woakes is a hard-working, whole-hearted character who will continue to improve - the Bears will certainly benefit from that.
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Bob Jones, who is responsible for setting the West Midlands Police budget, is seeking the public's views for his proposals for 2014-15.
What do you think of BBC Local Live? We'd like your feedback.
Lorna Fitzjohn, regional director of Ofsted in the West Midlands, writes in her report that improving the performance of colleges in the West Midlands is "an urgent priority".
She adds: "The region has the worst performing colleges in the country. Only 51% of colleges were judged as good or better compared with 72% nationally."
I've just spoken to the marketing team at Brindleyplace, who say they've broken the world record for the longest Christmas cracker pull.
They needed more than 605 people to take part and they say they've counted 749.
We won't have official confirmation from Guinness World Records for a few weeks, but they tell me they're hopeful it'll be confirmed.
I'm in Brierley Hill speaking to local residents as the Environment Agency revokes the licence of a company responsible for tonnes of waste piling high in the area.
Kim Jordan, of Lindsey Place, says the rubbish waste heap has blighted her life since she moved to her home four years ago.
Airline group Monarch has returned to profit, reports the paper.
Midlands hospitals are having to recruit from overseas because of a shortage of qualified, experienced staff - 300 nurses have been recruited to fill vacancies in the Black Country alone. Ben Godfrey has a special report.
And it's been a foggy old start to the day, will It get any better? Shefali Oza has all the weather details at 13:30 on BBC One. Elizabeth Glinka is presenting.
Plans for a £6.7m redevelopment of Dudley Market have been submitted, reports BBC News Online.
Dudley Council says the plans are part of a wider revamp of the town and will be funded through the European Regional Development Fund. Planners will look at the proposals early next year, with work hoped to start in the spring.
Hundreds of people are getting ready to pull their crackers in the world record attempt.
The Brindleyplace marketing team says: "Everyone's starting to line up with their crackers. People are piling in thick and fast."
As the excitement builds at Brindleyplace, members of the public are turning up and collecting their crackers to help the attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the longest Christmas cracker pulling chain.
The attempt is due to start at 13:00 in Oozells Square.
Further education colleges in the West Midlands are among the worst performing in England, according to a new report by the education watchdog.
In the first ever review of standards broken down by area, Ofsted says the West Midlands has the lowest proportion of good or outstanding colleges of any region.
This is the huge rubbish mound that has been blighting the lives of families in Brierley Hill.
I'm here speaking to local residents, after the Environment Agency revealed it is revoking the licence of the company responsible for the waste.
The organisation that represents West Midlands Police officers tells BBC WM that violent crime has gone up for various reasons.
The Police Federation was reacting to new figures in The Birmingham Mail which show it's increased by 5% in the region and 13% in Birmingham alone between April and November this year, compared to the previous period.
A spokesman says the weather and deprivation are two of the factors which might explain it.
I'm taking a look at the Ofsted report into education standards across the West Midlands. It's the first time Ofsted have done region-specific reports for England.
It says the pace of progress in our primary schools is too slow and there needs to be a rapid and concerted drive to make sure children are given a better starting chance.
Secondary schools are faring better - it says older pupils across the West Midlands are generally doing very well.
Anti-HS2 activists have launched a new campaign urging one million people not to vote for the parties supporting the £50bn project.
Police have released images of people they want to speak to about a fight which broke out over a bag of chips at a Birmingham takeaway.
Two teenagers were left with facial injuries at the Skipper's Fish Bar, in Horsefair, on 9 November.
Det Con Justin Le Fort says: "We have carried out inquiries and now need help from the public to identify those inside the fish bar at the time."
A company responsible for a huge pile of rubbish in Brierley Hill has had its licence revoked after repeatedly failing to remove the waste, reports BBC News Online.
In a statement, an Environment Agency spokesman says: "Recently, as we believe that RDF is not competent to hold a permit, we have revoked the company's authorisation to operate the site.
"The notice further requires that RDF must remove all remaining waste from the site by 17 February 2014."
More than £7m worth of work to develop Dudley market will begin next spring, BBC WM reports.
Councillor Judy Foster says it will create a "much improved appearance of the town". The new marketplace will include 74 stalls, new paving and lighting.
Ailsa Raine and her team at Brindleyplace are getting ready to try to break the world record for the longest Christmas cracker pulling chain.
To achieve the feat, everyone taking part must be linked to the two people standing either side so that everyone is joined together for the pull. Find out more on how you can take part.
Are you going along later today? Share your photos with us.
Today is the 11th day of the 12th month of 2013. We're not quite sure if this means the world is going to end, but it is the last date this century with three consecutive numbers.
So to mark this momentous occasion, we're running this update at 11:12 and 13 seconds.
Former Birmingham City apprentice Jack Rutter has rebuilt his life after being left brain damaged following an attack.
The assault meant he had to give up his hopes of playing top flight football.
Having captained England Cerebral Palsy team, he hopes to captain the Great Britain side to glory at Rio Paralympics in 2016.
A Dudley revamp is a step closer after a planning application was made for £6.7m project, reports the paper
Hospitals in the Midlands plan to recruit hundreds of foreign nurses because of staff shortages.
Chief executive of New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton, David Loughton, says: "The dependency levels of patients has gone up so much in recent times and that has really caught us unawares, in terms of the need for more recruitment.
"If we were to increase the commissioning of nurse training now it would take four to five years for that to come through and we can't wait that long."
Did you know a Victorian invented the Christmas cracker in 1848?
It was created by British confectioner Tom Smith, who wanted to find a bold new way to sell sweets.
The entrepreneur was inspired by a trip to Paris where he saw bon bons - sugared almonds wrapped in twists of paper - and came up with the idea. Read more on the BBC website.
Birmingham City Council tweets: Webcast apology: Due to technical difficulties we are unable to broadcast this morning's Licensing & Public Protection Committee meeting
West Midlands transport authority Centro is holding a public consultation asking people how it should reduce its budget as it seeks to make savings of £14m.
A number of events are being held throughout December and January in areas including West Bromwich, Solihull and Walsall.
Firefighters in Sandwell and Dudley boroughs are striking on Friday and Saturday in their protracted battle to save their pensions.
West Midlands Police traffic team tweets: RTC in W'hampton damage only car vs chip shop. Brings a new meaning to drive through fast food #lucky
We've introduced BBC Local Live to bring you news, sport, travel and weather updates in one place. We'd like to know what you think.
It's two weeks until Christmas. Have you bought your crackers yet?
Today there will be hundreds of them in Birmingham city centre as people try to break the world record for the longest Christmas cracker pulling chain.
There will be a countdown to get people to pull them all at the same time and if you've not registered, fear not - people can turn up at Brindleyplace from noon and take part.
Birmingham City Council's licensing committee meeting at 10:00 will be streamed live on the internet. You can watch it here.
The Black Country firm responsible for a huge pile of rubbish which towers over homes in Brierley Hill has had its licence revoked by the Environment Agency, BBC Midlands Today reports.
The company, Refuse Derived Fuel Limited, was repeatedly ordered to reduce the waste heap. Now the business has been told it must remove all remaining rubbish by February.
A car careered into a fish and chip shop in Wolverhampton last night.
Today we're discussing a report in the Birmingham Mail that violent crime in the area has risen 5% year on year. In Birmingham alone it's gone up by 13% - and I don't know why.
So you tell me. Why is violent crime on the up? Give me a call on 08453 009956 or text 81333 starting your message WM.
The longest Christmas cracker pulling chain record is currently held by the RuneScape Community, in London, who set it in November this year.
One of the West Midlands' most famous sporting names the Cradley Heathens is to be revived in 2014, the club confirms.
It's after the Dudley Heathens confirmed they'll be reverting back to their original name when they defend their National League Speedway title next year.
Club chairman Nigel Pearson says: "We used the name Dudley because we weren't sure what the response would be, but it's clear the majority of our fan base are from the Cradley days."
More than 600 people are aiming to form the world's longest Christmas cracker pulling chain today.
Lydia Ellis, marketing manager for Brindleyplace, Birmingham, where the attempt will be made at at 12:30, says more than 603 people are required to break the current record.
"We've had over 800 people sign up in advance but we just hope everybody turns up."
Birmingham beats international competition for a foreign investment award.
The newspaper has a special report which has discovered violent crime has soared by 13% in Birmingham.
A former Birmingham City apprentice is making a bid for Paralympic glory after overcoming brain damage to captain the England Cerebral Palsy football team.
At 18, Jack Rutter was an aspiring Premier League footballer who had spent eight years with the Birmingham City Academy, reports BBC News Online.
But in 2009, just months before he was due to find out if he would be offered a professional contract, he was punched to the ground on a night out.
Hospitals in the Midlands are having to recruit hundreds of nurses from overseas.
The BBC has discovered hospitals in the region plan to recruit the foreign nurses because of staff shortages.
A chilly start for many with some locally dense fog patches, which will be slow to clear through the morning.
All areas will remain dry throughout and it will also become increasingly sunny during the afternoon, with highs of 9C (48F).
It's rather grey and murky here in Birmingham city centre this morning.
I'm in the BBC WM newsroom bringing you the latest news, sport, travel and weather updates for Birmingham and the Black Country.
Listen to live sport commentaries from any of the BBC's 40 Local Radio stations
Alistair McGowan travels through the West Midlands to uncover the buildings in need of renovation.
Johny Pitts tracks down the wildlife lurking in our towns and cities
The latest political news, interviews and debate for the Midlands
A closer look at stories from around the West Midlands.
The latest news, sport and weather for the Midlands.
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