The Spectator

The clock towers bigger than Big Ben

Plus: the decline of British steel; and a comparison of prime-ministerial jets

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Bigger Bens

Big Ben will have a £29m refurbishment. Who has the biggest clock tower?

Kremlin Clock: Installed on the 232ft Spasskaya Tower. Clock has a diameter of 20ft.

Big Ben: Installed on 315ft Elizabeth Tower. Clock faces are 24ft across.

Metropolitan Life Insurance Building, New York: 700ft high (although the clock is only two-thirds of the way up). Clock is 26ft 6in in diameter.

Abraj Al-Bait Towers, Mecca: Clock is on 1,972ft tower and visible from 15 miles away. Clock faces are 151ft in diameter.

Brussels clout

How important is the EU as an export market? Britain’s top ten export markets by value in August this year:

Value

US

£3.2bn

Switzerland

£2.3bn

Netherlands

£1.5bn

China

£1.4bn

Ireland

£1.2bn

France

£1.2bn

Belgium

£896m

Hong Kong

£655m

Spain

£625m

Change since August 2014

US

+15%

Switzerland

+290%

Netherlands

+2%

China

+35.8%

Ireland

-1.3%

France

-19.4%

Belgium

+7.8%

Hong Kong

+49.3%

Spain

-9.3%

Source: ONS

Steel away

Tata Steel announced 1,200 job losses at its Scunthorpe plant in the latest contraction in the industry. Between 1970 and 2014, UK steel production fell from 27.8m to 9.4m tonnes. The fall in jobs has been more precipitous still.

Workers in UK steel industry

1971

320,000

1978

271,000

1991

44,000

2001

30,000

2014

24,000

Source: House of Commons Library

Jet set

President Xi flew into Heathrow in his jumbo. Who has the biggest presidential/prime ministerial jet?

Operating empty weight in lb

UK: Bae146 (x2)

52,000

Russia: Ilyushin Il-96-300PU

265,000

Germany: Airbus A340 (x2)

284,000

US Boeing 747-200 (x2)

383,000

China: 747-400

393,000

India: 747-400 (x4)

393,000

Saudi Arabia: 747-400

393,000

Kuwait 747-8 (on order)

472,000