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Vital Statistics

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Urban decay accounts for 560km2 - twice the area of Birmingham, and there is immediate scope for 700,000 new homes, says the government's National Land Use data base. The cpre called on it to unlock urban potential.

The Construction Industry Training Board aims to recruit 70,000 16 to 19-year-olds in 1999, and more ethnic minorities. A new campaign targets the top 500 building firms.

53 per cent of bricklaying firms have trouble finding skilled labour, says the Construction Confederation.

Nearly £4 billion was spent on maintenance in 1997, a rise of 2.7 per cent on 1996, says Building Maintenance Information.

Closer European tax harmonisation will cost engineers more, say 76 per cent of the Association of Consulting Engineers, and 97 per cent opposed plans for a higher rate of corporation tax.

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