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vital statistics

More than two in three central London businesses believe the congestion charge has made life harder, says Westminster County Council. The local authority sent out 10,000 questionnaires and, of the 369 returned,68.3 per cent said it was damaging business.

The National Office for Statistics has calculated that the UK's total worth is £5,000 billion.

If all the buildings, bridges, homes, cars, factories and food were sold and the proceeds distributed equally, each British subject would receive £84,200.

Despite the current Lotteryfuelled boom in building them, nearly half the British public has never set foot inside an art gallery. Research for the Encyclopædia Britannica found that 73 per cent of people said art was 'vital'to their lives, but 43 per cent had never visited a gallery.

The UK spent £17.5 billion on drinks in pubs last year, more than double that spent on cinema, theatre and museums combined. Market analyst Mintel says this represents more than half the total money expended on leisure pursuits outside the home.

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