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April

APRIL 5 was PAYE day, with at least 125,000 self-employed workers forced onto the books by new legislation. Contractors said the change, the biggest shake-up in builders' pay since the '70s, would increase costs.

As election fever gripped the nation, a Construction News telephone poll found that 49.7 per cent of readers would vote for the Labour party on May 1.

Meanwhile, Labour struck a deal with the Building Employers Confederation to provide 10,000 new construction training places if the party won power.

It was feared tonnes of radioactive steel could slip into the UK by importers buying in unsafe material from decommissioned Russian nuclear power stations.

Forty-nine steel erectors at the M5 Avonmouth Bridge widening scheme were sacked by Cleveland Bridge for taking a 10-minute tea break, after a protracted 15-month dispute.

Insurance giant AA Home Assistance announced an approval scheme designed to stamp out cowboys in the £8.5 billion home repairs market.

A rift opened up between building bosses and unions over plans to transform the pay and

conditions of 600,000 construction workers.

And work on a £2.75 million road improvement scheme in Scotland was delayed by a row over where to dump 6,000 tree stumps. An offer to bury them on a local landowner's bogland was rejected by an environmental watchdog.