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Summary

  1. British Gas plans to close an Oldbury office
  2. Plans to limit so-called "chuggers" in Birmingham
  3. One in four social worker posts are vacant in Birmingham and Walsall
  4. Walsall remain in touch for automatic promotion
  5. Updates on Wednesday 20 April 2016

Live Reporting

By Alex Homer

All times stated are UK

Get involved

  1. Good evening from Local Live for Birmingham and the Black Country

    That's it on Wednesday. Join us from 08:00 on Thursday for more news, sport, travel and weather.

  2. Victoria Wood: Her career began in Birmingham

    Victoria Wood worked as a barmaid in Harborne, Birmingham, in 1973, but her first job was with the BBC at its former Edgbaston base of Pebble Mill, while she was still a student at the university.

    She worked on a late night programme on Fridays for local radio.

    She won five Baftas including two for her one-off ITV drama Housewife 49. Her publicist Neil Reading said she had died aged 62 this morning after "a short but brave" battle with cancer.

    Victoria Wood
  3. Coming up on TV

    Nick Owen

    Presenter, BBC Midlands Today

    The Prime Minister says a taskforce will hold talks with British Gas after it announced plans to cut nearly 700 jobs and close its offices in Oldbury. 

    The BBC meanwhile understands nearly 500 workers at Aston Villa are to be made redundant.

    And we will hear how an amateur football team from Wolverhampton, made up of gay, bisexual, transexual and straight players and coaches, will be the first of its kind to join a regular Sunday League in the West Midlands. 

    More on these stories and others on the Midlands Today on BBC One at 18:30.

  4. Watch: Latest weather forecast for the West Midlands

    Shefali Oza

    BBC Midlands Today

    It's going to turn a lot colder after sunshine this afternoon. Lows of 4C (39F).

    Find out what else is in store for us.

    Video content

    Video caption: The weather for the West Midlands
  5. County Championship: Middlesex draw with Warwickshire at Lord's

    Middlesex 452 & 304-6 dec v Warwickshire 468

    Richard Wilford

    BBC WM

    Middlesex's Adam Voges misses out on a century as Warwickshire keeper Tim Ambrose takes off his pads at Lord's and claims the first wicket of his career, the Australian caught by Keith Barker for 92. He immediately declares the Middlesex innings, bringing the game to an end.

    No doubt about the star performer in this game - Middlesex opener Sam Robson, who made 231 and 106. the home side take 12 points, with 11 for the Bears.

  6. Latest: British Gas cuts in Oldbury; row prompted Villa resignations; trailer draws complaints

    Alex Homer

    BBC Local Live

    Here is a recap of our headlines this afternoon:

    - Workers have told of their shock over British Gas plans to cut 684 Oldbury jobs

    - The departure of David Bernstein and Lord King from the Aston Villa board was triggered by a bitter fall-out with the club's owner Randy Lerner

    - A man has been ordered to remove his 40ft (12m) lorry trailer from his mother's front garden after it attracted hundreds of complaints

  7. Slow and heavy traffic

    BBC Travel

    The M42 has a lane closed on the entry slip road and slow traffic northbound at J4, A34 (Shirley).  

    There's also heavy traffic on M6 northbound between J6 A38(M) Aston Expressway and J7, A34 (Great Barr), because of an earlier broken down vehicle.

  8. British Gas job losses: Massive shock for staff

    Jennie Aitken

    Reporter, BBC WM

    I've been speaking to workers coming out of British Gas in Oldbury.

    They have told me the announcement of 684 job losses came as a massive shock as they had not expected the news.

    They were greeted by "a bit of an atmosphere" this morning before being dealt the blow in meetings.

  9. Aston Villa: David Bernstein and Lord King left after Randy Lerner row

    David Ornstein

    BBC Sport

    The departure of David Bernstein and Lord King from the Aston Villa board was triggered by a bitter fall-out with the club's owner Randy Lerner.

    Bernstein and King wrote to Villa chairman Steve Hollis on Monday, tendering their resignations with immediate effect.

    David Bernstein (right) talks to Brian Little (centre) and chairman Steve Hollis

    After joining Villa in March and February respectively, Bernstein and King grew increasingly frustrated at the lack of progress they were able to make.

    This came to a head when email communication between the pair, which included criticism of Lerner, was leaked to the US businessman.

  10. National Union of Students elects Malia Bouattia as president

    A student who has previously refused to condemn the so-called Islamic State has been elected as the next president of the National Union of Students.

    Malia Bouattia, who will start in September, has also called Birmingham University a "Zionist outpost".

    In a 2014 video from a Gaza and Palestinian Revolution event, she is seen calling on Muslims to support Palestinian "resistance".

    Malia Bouattia
  11. Football: Pulis hopes Berahino will 'step up and smash his next penalty in'

    Rob Gurney

    BBC WM Sport

    Tony Pulis seemed very relaxed in the build up to tomorrow's game against Arsenal, chatting warmly about a range of issues, even discarding the ever-present baseball cap after the main conference when he spoke to me!

    Plans for next season at Albion are ongoing, he says, and thinks Saido Berahino has responded well to his double penalty miss last weekend against Watford

    If he's on the pitch when they next get one, Pulis said he'd be "incredibly disappointed" if Berahino didn't step up "and smash it".

    And Pulis was glad to be off to France for part of Euro 2016, when the inevitable speculation about Berahino's future starts again in a few weeks' time at the season's end.

  12. British Gas job losses: A government taskforce 'will be available' - PM

    At Prime Ministers Questions, Warley's Labour MP John Spellar asked whether the government could help in response to the announcement of 684 job losses by British Gas in Oldbury.

    "We will make sure that a taskforce of ministers is available to talk to the company, to talk to the local community, to provide all the assistance in terms of retraining and other things that can be done to help," said David Cameron.

    The Oldbury office
  13. Thief 'struggled to carry' his haul after an armed robbery in Pelsall

    A thief who struggled under the weight of his own haul is being sought by police after an armed robbery at a Co-op in Pelsall. 

    West Midlands Police said a lone offender threatened staff at the store on the High Street around 06:20 with what is believed to have been a handgun. He left on foot with cash in a holdall.

    Det Con Neil Cunnington said the dark-clothed suspected "appeared to have been struggling to carry the bag as he took a large quantity of coins and we have reports of him staggering due to the weight".

  14. Highest number of child deaths occur in the West Midlands

    BBC News England

    The biggest number of child deaths occur in the West Midlands, new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveal.

    This goes against the national trend, which has seen the number of babies dying before their first birthday in England and Wales fall to its lowest ever rate

    Infant mortality figures
  15. Comedian Victoria Wood dies aged 62

    BBC Entertainment and Arts

    Comedian Victoria Wood has died aged 62 after a short battle with cancer, her publicist has said.  

    She found fame in the 1980s with her TV series Victoria Wood As Seen On TV.  

    Her showbusiness career began when she gained a place on a drama course at Birmingham University. 

  16. Latest: British Gas cuts; 'chugger' reduction plans; man told to remove lorry from garden

    Alex Homer

    BBC Local Live

    If you are just catching up on Wednesday's news, here are our headlines:

    - British Gas plans to cut 684 Oldbury jobs

    - Plans to limit so-called "chuggers" in Birmingham will be discussed by councillors later

    - A man has been ordered to remove his 40ft (12m) lorry trailer from his mother's front garden after it attracted hundreds of complaints

  17. British Gas to axe hundreds of Black Country jobs

  18. A man's home is his castle - except when it's his trailer

    The owner of a lorry trailer has been ordered to remove it from his mother's front garden - after the "smack in the face" eyesore attracted hundreds of complaints. 

    The former Marks and Spencer delivery wagon was backed onto the frontage of a house in Sheldon, Birmingham, in January and has not moved since.

    The trailer

    The 18-year-old refrigerated unit, fitted out as living accommodation with double-glazed doors, white goods and a bathroom, has been put up for sale by its owner, Iftikhar Azam, who is looking for offers around £2,000.

    The 43-year-old said: "It wasn't meant to be here this long as I had a buyer for it, but he lost interest. Former deputy leader of Birmingham City Council, Paul Tilsley, likened the trailer's visual impact to "a smack in the face". 

  19. Caldmore one-way system comes under fire

    Daz Hale

    BBC WM

    Trade is being diverted away from Caldmore to Walsall town centre since a one-way system was introduced, residents and shopkeepers claim.

    The system was introduced in February despite 1,500 people signing a petition objecting to the plan.

    Akhlaq Hussain, chairman of Caldmore Traders Association, said one shop on Caldmore Road had closed since the new system came in and more would need to lay off people due to declining takings.

    the one way system

    When plans for the road system were revealed, the council said the move would ease traffic, improve road safety and reduce parking problems.