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

OUR SERIES ON THE PEOPLE JOCKEYING FOR INFLUENCE IN THE LATE NINETIES

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.
Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tvWhy BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
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Campbell: ‘Sometimes you have to be economical with the truth’
newsFormer spin doctor says MPs should study tactics of leading sports figures like José Mourinho
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Agretti is often compared to its relative, samphire, though is closer in taste to spinach
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Kelly Osbourne will play a flight attendant in Sharknado 2
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The dress can be seen in different colours
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Wes Brown is sent-off
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Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey VC
voicesBeware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
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Alexander McQueen's AW 2009/10 collection during Paris Fashion Week
fashionMeet the collaborators who helped create the late designer’s notorious spectacles
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War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?