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  • The number of building apprentices taken on in Scotland increased for the second consecutive year in 2014. In total, 1,553 apprentices were registered during the calendar year; this is up 20% from the nadir in 2012 but remains 43% on the number registered in 2007. The latest statistics covering England, covering the academic year to July 2014, showed a 22% drop in apprenticeship starts related to construction, planning and the built environment.


  • Mortgage approvals picked up in February to a five-month high according to the British Bankers’ Association, in a further sign that a slowing in housing purchasing through the second half of 2014 has now bottomed out. However the total of 37,305 mortgage approvals in February was down 20% on the same month last year.
  • Retail sales grew strongly in February, with the quantity of goods bought rising by 0.7% compared to January. This contrasts with a previously released survey by the CBI which showed retail sales growth easing in February to its weakest since November 2013. However the latest CBI survey showed a rebound in March.

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