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vital statistics

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Some £500 million worth of furniture, paintings and jewellery are stolen each year. And works of art worth more than £1 billion are listed as missing in the Art Loss Register in London. These include 349 Picassos, 250 by Marc Chagall, 175 by Salvador Dali, 51 Hockneys and 269 by Miro.

Office rents in core areas of the City of London have risen to 23 per cent above their 1980s peak, the latest quarterly report by property consultant Healey & Baker shows.

London was the most buoyant area of the country in January in terms of planning approvals, research by Glenigan shows. Value of plans approved was £332 million.

South Africa's largest cinema operator, Ster-Kinekor, has announced plans for 20 multiplex sites in Europe. In the uk this will bring its total number of screens to 67.

Some 74 per cent of Chartered Institute of Building members have voted for a name change to the Chartered Institute of Construction.

One third of high-street spending, about £100 billion, is now carried out using credit or debit cards, says the Credit Card Research Group.

The construction industry will hire at least 3000 young people through the government's welfare to work programme, it says.

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