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Gutters suffer from brain drain

AS the country celebrates National Gutters Day, English Heritage has said there is a chronic shortage of stonemasons, joiners, bricklayers and scaffolders.

Today is the culmination of the first National Maintenance Week. Everyone is being exhorted to get outside and clean those gutters. The biggest cause of dilapidation in buildings is water coming in, and that is caused by blocked gutters.

English Heritage is worried about our historic buildings - as well as the Victorian and Georgian terraces in which so many people live - which is why it has put out its plea for more skilled workers.

Bryan Sanderson, chair of the the Learning and Skills Council, said bricklayers, stonemasons and scaffolders were lucrative occupations too - scaffolders in London earn between pound;30-50,000 a year. These were all jobs with high levels of personal satisfaction.

Broadcaster Kevin McCloud will today abseil the Tower of London to clear historic gutters.

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