The Government has failed to deliver a promised #1 billion to improve transport in the West Midlands, according to local authorities.

Officials from the seven councils in the West Midlands conurbation have warned the region cannot afford much-needed improvements, such as extending the Metro light rail scheme or rebuilding New Street station in Birmingham.

In 2003, Transport Secretary Alistair Darling pledged #1 billion would be invested in the region.

The announcement was seen as a disappointment at the time, because the West Midlands Multi Modal Study, which examined transport issues along the M6 corridor between the Midlands and Manchester, had warned that #7.5 billion would be needed to improve public transport and unclog the region's roads over the next three decades.

But now transport chiefs are claiming that even the money promised has not emerged.


William Shakespeare's comedies were given a once over with a tickling stick when the "master of the chuckle muscle" gave a theatre audience his thoughts on the Bard's comic credentials.

Ken Dodd introduced himself to Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, where he was giving a talk as part of a Royal Shakespeare Company festival of comedy, as the Bard of Knotty Ash.

And the comic legend, who has been in the business for more than 50 years, maintains that we laugh today about the same things that tickled our ancestors' funny bones four centuries ago.

Speaking before a lecture at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, he said: "You've got to have a good chuckle muscle. It's all about standing up there and exercising your chuckle muscle."


The husband of a midwife from Birmingham who was knocked down and killed on holiday in Portugal by a hit-and-run driver has spoken of his "kind, caring and beautiful wife".

Rachel Munro, aged 42, was knocked down by the speeding driver and thrown 30 metres through the air as she tried to cross a road in the Algarve.

Her husband Tom, aged 67, said his life was in tatters after her death.

The couple, who had been married for nearly two-and-a-half years, were on the first night of their holiday, on the outskirts of Almancil, in the Algarve, when the tragedy happened.


Patients and medical staff in Birmingham have been taking part in an international clinical trial of the latest treatment for lung cancer.

A small white pill called Tarceva targets a molecule which plays a key role in the growth and extended life span of cancer cells.

Lung cancer is one of the most difficult forms of cancer to treat, and about 85 per cent of cases are non-small cell lung cancers.

Trials have shown Tarceva significantly increases the chances of a patient surviving more than a year, reducing symptoms such as breathlessness, pain and coughing.

See Thursday's Birmingham Post for more on this story