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  • There were 118,760 housing completions in England during 2014, according to statistics released by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). This was an 8% increase on 2013. Housing starts were higher at 137,010 over 2014; a 10% rise on 2013.


  • Average earnings, excluding bonuses, rose by 1.7% in the final quarter of 2014 compared to a year earlier, according to ONS' Labour Market Statistics. The unemployment rate fell further to 5.7%, from 6.0% in the third quarter and 7.2% a year earlier. It is estimated that there are now over 600,000 more people in employment than during the final quarter of 2013, driving the employment rate up to 73.2%. This is on a par with the turn of 2004/05 as the highest employment rate in the series going back to 1993.
  • UK public sector net borrowing improved compared to a year ago in January, buoyed by rising receipts from income tax self-assessments. January is usually a surplus month due to these returns; January 2015 saw a surplus of £8.8 billion, up from £6.5bn a year ago. Borrowing over the tax year since last April has fallen by £6 billion compared to a year earlier.

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