News The MP Louise Ellman branded the use of parking fines to raise revenue unacceptable and illegal

Councils across England have been accused of implementing “an unacceptable mass ticketing culture” after the release of figures showing that car parking charges have generated £600m of surplus profit in the past year.

Cash raiders

A man leaving a car park in Wokingham, Berkshire, to deposit pounds 5,200 at a bank was pushed to the ground by a man and a woman who then snatched his bag containing the cash and fled on foot.

Pensioner killed on way to church

A murder hunt was launched last night after an 85-year- old woman was stabbed as she walked to church. Phyllis Saville was attacked yards from Wimborne Minster in Dorset, where she was a church warden. Another parishioner raised the alarm after finding Mrs Saville, a widow, dying in a car park.

Halifax pays pounds 2m in dispute over name

HALIFAX Building Society has paid damages and costs understood to be about pounds 2m to Provident Financial as a result of a dispute over the use of the name Halifax, writes Peter Rodgers. .

Bottom Line: Providential loans

PROVIDENT Financial is continuing to perform a minor miracle from its Bradford headquarters, with another sharp increase in profits - up 54 per cent before tax to pounds 62.5m - and a 47 per cent dividend rise that puts the banks in the shade.

Royal loses on work-related illness cover: Concern over increasing number of claims as profits recover to pounds 151m

ROYAL Insurance yesterday reported a significant rise in its losses on employers' liability insurance because of increasing claims for damages due to work-related illnesses such as repetitive strain injury.

CU says fear of price war has been exaggerated: Pre-tax profits accelerate to pounds 188m despite greater competition in motor insurance sector

COMMERCIAL Union has tried to reassure investors that fears of an insurance price war are exaggerated, following a sharp mark-down of insurance company shares on Tuesday because of pessimistic remarks from Guardian Royal Exchange.

Bottom Line: CU and semantics

COMMERCIAL Union was talking the insurance market up as fast as GRE appeared to be talking it down the day before, but this did not do much for the shares. They mostly closed down a few pence more.

Cuttings: Bean feast

ON LIGHT soils the hardier varieties of broad beans can be sown now, if you missed doing so in November. If you prefer, start them in individual 3in pots in a cold greenhouse, but watch out for mice.

Nothing beats a good rant: When the car park lift got stuck, Rosalind Twist got a ticket . . .

I have just lost my temper. Lost it completely, utterly, irrevocably. As this only happens to me about once in every 10 years, it has a powerful cleansing feel to it. I sit here feeling like the echo of a harp string plucked and think I ought to do it more often.

Cheap car insurance

Motorists looking for the cheapest car insurance are being offered a service claiming to be able to find the best quote across nearly every company in the market.

Departures: Orlando offer

THE US specialist Bon Voyage (0703 330332) has cut the price of a two-week holiday in Orlando, Florida, by pounds 225 per person. For departures on 4, 10 or 11 August it offers a scheduled flight with Virgin, accommodation in a two-bedroom villa and car hire (including collision- damage waiver) for pounds 499 each (based on four people sharing).

Witness appeal on boy's murder

Police investigating the murder of Sean Williams, eight, who was killed yards from his home on Monday, were still questioning a man last night and have appealed for witnesses who were in the Kitchener Road area of East Finchley, north London, between 5.30 and 5.55pm.

1p car insurance

A 101-year-old man has had his car insurance policy renewed for 1p because of his good record. George Preece, of Hereford, has been driving for 85 years.

Baby in lift tragedy

A 17-day-old girl was 'stable' last night after she was catapulted on to the roof of a lift in a multi- storey car park. Charlotte Morley was being pulled from the lift in Portsmouth, Hampshire, when the doors closed, the cage shut on her pram and the lift began to descend.

Competing for cars

THERE ARE now two long-term car park companies at Gatwick where there was just one. Why, I asked the airport. 'Two companies means increased competition and better value for money,' said a spokesman. But since both are charging the same rate, pounds 3.65 per 24 hours, it is hard to see the benefit of competition: nicer courtesy buses, more attractive parking bays? One innovation: you can book your long-term car parking - handy if your car has a favourite spot.
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Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

'How do you carry on? You have to...'

The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

Sir John Major hits out at theatres

Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

Kicking Barbie's butt

How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines
Will Smith's children have made waves with a gloriously over-the-top interview, but will their music match their musings?

What are Jaden and Willow on about?

Will Smith's children have made waves with a gloriously over-the-top interview, but will their music match their musings?
Fridge gate: How George Osborne keeping his fridge padlocked shows a frosty side to shared spaces

Cold war

How George Osborne keeping his fridge padlocked shows a frosty side to shared spaces
Stocking fillers: 10 best loo books

Stocking fillers: 10 best loo books

From dogs in cars to online etiquette, while away a few minutes in peace with one of these humorous, original and occasionally educational tomes
Malky Mackay appointed Wigan manager: Three texts keep Scot’s rehabilitation on a knife-edge

Three texts keep Mackay’s rehabilitation on a knife-edge

New Wigan manager said all the right things - but until the FA’s verdict is delivered he is still on probation, says Ian Herbert
Louis van Gaal: the liberal, the enemy and... err, the poet

Louis van Gaal: the liberal, the enemy and... err, the poet

‘O, Louis’ is the plaintive title of a biography about the Dutchman. Ian Herbert looks at what it tells us about the Manchester United manager
Isis in Iraq: Baghdad hails the retaking of the Baiji oil refinery as the start of the long fightback against the Islamist militants

Isis takes a big step back

Baghdad hails the retaking of the Baiji oil refinery as the start of the long fightback against the Islamist militants
Bill Cosby: America’s beloved TV ‘dad’ or serial rapist?

Bill Cosby: America’s beloved TV ‘dad’ or serial rapist?

Ukip silk bow ties, Green Party T-shirts, and 'Iron Baby' romper suits: How to shop politically

How to shop politically

Ukip silk bow ties, Green Party T-shirts, and 'Iron Baby' romper suits
The science of sex: What happens when science meets erotica

Sex on the brain

Fetishes, dominatrixes, kinks and erotica. They are subjects that should get the crowds flocking to a new exhibition at the Wellcome Collection