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The British Aggregates Association has warned that the aggregates tax, set to take effect next April and nominally set at £1.60/tonne, will in practice work out at nearer £4. The tax will force smaller quarries to close, increasing transport costs, it claimed.

Prime minister Tony Blair is set to launch a review of energy supply in the UK that could lead to a revival of nuclear power.

Stagecoach is to sell its Portuguese bus operations to an unnamed transport group for £14M. The sale leaves Stagecoach focused on UK, US, Hong Kong and New Zealand operations.

Civil service numbers have started rising for the first time in almost a decade. There were 15,650 more civil servants in October last year than there were at the lowest figure of 476,370 in April 1999.

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