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Vital statistics

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In the 10 years to 1998, building tender prices rose by 18 per cent, maintenance costs by 54 per cent, cleaning costs by 57 per cent, and retail prices by 49 per cent, says Building Cost Information Service.

The value of orders for new construction this March was £2695 million and in April £2229 million, says the detr. There was a 1 per cent fall between the last quarter of 1998 and the first of 1999.

Alfred McAlpine has bought back £24.7 million of its shares and announced an 8 per cent rise in orders compared with last year. Two months ago it rejected a £243-million bid from the Brighton marina developer Andrew Goodall.

About 300 of the biggest British businesses will suffer computer problems from the Millennium Bug because they have not completed remedial it work, says a report by legal firm Dibb Lupton Alsop and the Taskforce 2000 watchdog.

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