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Vital statistics

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Housing minister Nick Raynsford has given 22 local authorities the go-ahead in a record transfer. 160,000 council houses will be moved from state ownership to social landlords over the next two years.

McAlpine's profits almost doubled last year, rising from £24.5 to £46.5 million. The boost comes on turnover of £791 million which was only up 10 per cent.

Attendances at the uk's St Patrick's Day celebration rocketed this year as 75,000 people turned out in Birmingham, 50 per cent up on last year and Manchester's parade saw an extra 50,000 revellers.

One-fifth of all households in the UK with children do not have a working adult, according to European Union figures. This indicator of child poverty places the uk as the worst country in the eu where the average is one- tenth of households without a working adult.

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