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vital statistics

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A loaf of white bread cost 2p (as did a pint of milk) in 1948, reports the Daily Telegraph on the Co-op's relaunch of its 'Divi' card. This compares with 53p and 35p respectively today. 1lb of cheddar cheese, then 4p, now costs around £2.40, and 0.5p-worth of potatoes will today set you back 23p. Where 7p would buy 1lb of chocolate 50 years ago, today you pay 79p. A bottle of 24 Anadin in 1948 was 7p, £1.85 today. Ponds Cold Cream, 11p then, costs £2.65

Air pollution kills up to 24,000 Britons each year, says the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants. Chief causes are low-level ozone caused by sunlight acting on vehicle exhaust fumes, and sulphur dioxide.

12 February marks the centenary of the uk's first fatal car crash, when a businessman crashed into a tree in Purley, Surrey.

Heathrow continues to be Europe's busiest airport, handling 58.1 million passengers in 1997, 3.6 per cent up on 1996. Frankfurt came second with 40.3 million.

Home repossessions have fallen to their lowest level since 1989. Repossessions totalled 32,770 in 1997, a drop of 57 per cent on the 1991 figure. The proportion of mortgages in arrears is also at its lowest for eight years.

Pensioners over 65 are expected to outnumber Britons under 16 within a decade, says Social Trends. The annual government survey shows a quarter of households comprise only one person.

Central London office take-up in 1997 was the highest on record, at 1.37 million m2, says property consultant Chesterton.

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