News Over 200,000 people have contacted their council for help following the last cut to benefits, however councils cannot keep up with the demand

Authorities had been forced to dip into funds allocated to other services to cope with the surge in numbers of households appealing for help

MP Chris Bryant breaks leg in charity rugby game

A Labour MP has broken his leg during a charity rugby match.

Police consider payment probe

Scotland Yard is considering launching an investigation into illegal payments to police by newspapers following comments by the chief executive of News International.

Brooks asked to reveal Sun's payments to police

The head of the parliamentary inquiry into phone hacking has written to News International's chief executive, Rebekah Brooks, to ask for details of alleged payments made by The Sun newspaper to police officers.

Diary: Roth dismisses wrath of Crowe

Gore-based film-maker Eli Roth has been working with Russell Crowe on the unlikely-sounding historical kung fu action thriller The Man with the Iron Fists, co-starring Wu-Tang Clan rapper RZA (as a "weapons-making village blacksmith in feudal China"), who is also the film's director.

The Sketch: Yates of the Yard may be a nice man but he's no Sherlock Holmes

"We did a little police work of our own," Paul Farrelly told Assistant Commissioner Yates. "We rang up the News of the World and asked how many Nevilles they had working for them. The answer was – one."

Yates offers to testify again in Parliament

One of Britain's top police officers says he will appear before MPs to answer allegations that he misled Parliament over the phone hacking scandal, The Independent has learnt.

Diary: Best man decision giving Ed trouble and strife

Even as the national heart swells with anticipatory joy over an imminent royal wedding, it quakes with fear at the distant approach of another. How in God's name will Labour's ruling house of Miliband resolve the best man conundrum when Ed succumbs to tabloid pressure to make an honest woman of Justine?

Senior Met officer 'should face MPs over phone hacking'

One of Scotland Yard's most senior officers should reappear before a Parliamentary committee to answer criticism of his handling of the phone hacking case, MPs said yesterday.

Murdoch ally 'warned MP not to pursue hacking scandal'

I was told my actions 'would not be forgotten' says Chris Bryant in damning speech

No 10 in a spin over briefing against Prince

David Cameron was forced to try to head off a rift with Buckingham Palace last night after his new spin-doctor appeared to question the Duke of York's future as a British trade envoy.

Downing Street backs Prince Andrew in trade role

Downing Street today offered robust support to the Duke of York amid calls for him to resign as UK trade envoy over his relationships with a series of controversial figures, including a convicted paedophile.

How Prescott became a key figure in long battle for truth

John Prescott has long condemned Scotland Yard's handling of the original investigation into hacking carried out by a private investigator working for the News of the World.

Exclusive: Brown asks Scotland Yard to investigate if he was hacked

Murdoch flies in for high-level meetings as Yard faces new questions about its conduct

Diary: Hurley Burley gets fit for purpose

A Murdochian rebuke to the ageist BBC made flesh, Sky News anchor Kay "Hurley" Burley continues to report the news vigorously, if not rigorously, despite her advancing years.

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?