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vital statistics

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Gordon Brown's spending on infrastructure, hospitals, schools and social housing is compensating for the diminishing number of new private contracts for offices and factories, according to a RICS survey. Overall construction workloads rose at a slower rate in the third quarter. Growth in social housing slowed but remained positive.

According to E C Harris, building tender prices are set to rise by 3.5 per cent in the year to the third quarter of 2003, with a further increase of 3.2 per cent the following year. The firm predicts that construction output will be bolstered by continued investment in infrastructure and by further planned investment in health and education.

The River Tyne recorded its largest salmon catch since 1927, reports a survey from the Environment Agency.

The figures suggest that rivers in urban areas are continuing to improve.

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