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vital statistics

The Department of Trade has admitted it underestimated the growth in the construction sector in the first three months of this year.The Office of National Statistics has reassessed the original figure of 0.3 per cent, replacing it with a far healthier 0.6 per cent.

The government has agreed to pay every penny of the £17 million cost of London's bid for the 2012 Olympics.However, if the bid is successful, mayor Ken Livingstone has agreed to raise £625 million through council tax to cover the essential infrastructure preparations.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has admitted the total cost of maintaining the Millennium Dome will come to £20 million if the site reopens on schedule in 2007.That averages out at £64,000 a week.

'Phantom pints' - measures that contain 5 per cent less beer than they should - are costing the British pub-going public £100 million a year.An influential committee of MPs has called for an end to this favourite trick of 'rip-off landlords'.

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