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Vital statistics

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Whitby Bird engineer John Austin dies aged 52

The proportion of homes in England judged unfit to live in went down from 8.8 per cent in 1986 to 7.2 per cent (about 1.5 million homes) in 1996, says the detr.

Seventy-two beach chalets face demolition to make way for caravan space at east Mersea, Essex. The 12ft by 20ft wooden huts were designed as golf huts and are all that remain of the 200 which were built in the 1930s. They must be moved or demolished.

About 55 per cent of new homes, including conversions, in England are now built on previously developed land, says the detr. The government's target is to achieve 60 per cent by 2008.

Seventeen per cent of chartered surveyors expect workloads to fall over the next 12 months, says an rics uk Economic Brief. This compares to 7 per cent expecting workload to rise compared to 1998. Economic slowdown is hitting industrial demand hard, the brief says.

Average life expectancy is now around 74 years for men and 79 years for women. Men in manual jobs generally have five years' lower life expectancy than professionals.

Consumer spending worries are denting confidence in the market for retail premises according to an rics survey which revealed that there were 30 per cent more respondents with low confidence than with optimistic feelings.

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