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Week in numbers

40p – The minimum price per unit of alcohol being proposed by the government in a bid to stamp out binge drinking.

58 – The length of chancellor George Osborne’s Budget speech in minutes.

14.6% – The proportion of shops in Britain lying empty in February – a new high, according to figures from the Local Data Company.

0.2% – The contraction in the Irish economy in Q4 2011, pushing the country officially into recession, according to data from the Central Statistics Office.

4.4million – The number of pensioners who will be an average of £83 a year worse off following the government’s so-called granny tax in the Budget, says HM Revenue & Customs.

2.2%- The fall in property prices forecast by the Office for Budget Responsibility for next year.

87 – The number of debt management companies to have exited the market since a compliance review of the sector in 2010, says the Office of Fair Trading.

0.2% – The proportion of property sales in Britain that are worth over £2m and would be subject to the new 7% Stamp Duty rate, says Lloyds TSB.


We’re not out of the woods yet

Despite recent optimism about the eurozone and government enticements for new-build buyers, it is still difficult to be hopeful about the prospects for mortgage growth in the next few years


The privatisation of social housing

Privatisation is back in vogue and is seen as the panacea to all problems from policing to roads and housing is getting in on the act too.


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