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

The Sketch: Hatbox's replies are like verbal snoring

MP payments scandal! It's not declared in the Members' Register but Harriet Harman gouges money from the public purse every month in the form of "a salary"! Pathetic joke, it's the best I can come up with after an hour of listening to her.

Help for troops suffering psychiatric problems from war

Reservists from the armed forces suffering from psychiatric problems after serving in Iraq and Afghanistan are to be offered official medical help, the Government announced in a major policy shift yesterday.

Thursday Book: Glenda's change of stage

Glenda Jackson: The Biography By Chris Bryant, Harpercollins, pounds 16.99

Letter: Rights and religions

Sir: We welcome the Government's determination to incorporate the European Convention on Human Rights into British law through the Human Rights Bill, now moving into its committee stage in the House of Commons. The Human Rights Act will be a keystone in creating a more just and equitable society.

Why our politicians need to get a life

The audience for political biography has shrunk for reasons deeper than stiff competition from studies of Posh Spice or the footballer David Beckham


THE NEW ESTABLISHMENT Day ten The fixers If the going gets tough for Prime Minister Blair, he'll need well-connected, heavyweight help. By Peter Popham

Letter: Churches fight social evils

Sir: Christian Socialism, you imply (leading article, 22 March), is doomed. Methodism, and Church attendance, is on the decline and the broad tradition into which Tony Blair has tapped has "no social basis". Yet in the last two months nearly 2,000 new members have joined the Christian Socialist Movement. You allude to the old adage that the Labour Party owes more to Methodism than to Marx, yet the first Christian Socialists were Anglicans, not Methodists, and Roman Catholics in Britain, from Cardinal Manning and John Wheatley through to today, have been vital in outlining the parameters of a "civic Christianity".

Alton's Christians stick to 'pro-life' agenda

The fast-growing Movement for Christian Democracy seems obsessed with just one issue. Paul Routledge reports

Letter: Christian and ethical socialism are not the same thing

Sir: As A. H. Halsey points out, politics is a moral endeavour and ethical socialism and Christian socialism will always be close allies ('Where is the spirit of our age?', 8 July). They are not, however, simply interchangeable.

ERM exit builds Bryant's hopes

BRITAIN'S exit from the exchange rate mechanism 'must be in the best interests' of the housing market, according to Chris Bryant, chairman of Bryant Group. But he added: 'with the economy in the doldrums, the outlook is bleak'.'

Column Eight: Harland shares in handicap

Mental distraction was offered yesterday for the upper echelons of Harland Simon, the control systems company whose shares remain suspended at 20p (year's high: 653p) and which implemented pay cuts after a small problem with working capital. The 3.30 at Nottingham, the Harland Simon Claiming Handicap, boasted prize money of pounds 3,000, half of which was put up by the company.
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No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor