News The more modern town of Salford, where the latest investment of the English Cities Fund is expected to be announced

Could Britain’s chronic housing shortage be solved by using insurers’ assets? Jamie Dunkley and Russell Lynch report

Crews face test on Costa Concordia as weather worsens

The vast wreck of the cruise ship Costa Concordia shifted on its undersea ledge today, forcing a new suspension of rescue work and threatening plans to pump oil out to prevent environmental disaster.

Ban on subletting council homes

Council tenants who sublet their homes face prosecution and possible prison terms in a blitz on abuse of social housing. High earners could also be forced to pay the market rate for continuing to live in their council homes.

Disgraced MP jailed for expenses fiddle still has Commons pass

Jim Devine, who made £8,000 in false claims, is excused court costs because he is bankrupt

Swedish wolf hunt called off over EU threat

Sweden is to stop this year's licensed hunt for wolves due to the threat of legal action from the European Union. Environment Minister Andreas Carlgren said the government decided to call off the hunt to avoid arduous legal proceedings in Brussels.

India reshuffles its reformist Environment Minister

Two years of radical reforms aimed at protecting India’s depleted environment and changing the economic and development balance came to an end today with a government reshuffle.

Video: Commons bin debate gets spicy

Shadow environment minister Jamie Reed kicks of a 'heated' debate about waste collection but we think they're a little hungry!

Land sale planned to reduce deficit

The Government is planning to sell public land worth an estimated £10bn to address a chronic housing shortage and help erode its record budget deficit. The Housing Minister, Grant Shapps, is due to announce today that all government departments with significant land banks will be asked to identify, by the autumn, land suitable for sale for homes.

Elliot Morley jailed over expenses

Elliot Morley became the first former minister to be jailed for cheating his expenses when he was sentenced to 16 months today.

Inquiry looms into nuclear fuel plant

Calls for an official inquiry into the financial evidence used to justify the construction a £1.34bn nuclear fuel plant at Sellafield in Cumbria will be treated seriously, the National Audit Office has told The Independent.

Village People: In a bind over Bercow

The plot to remove the Speaker, John Bercow, still lurks in the undergrowth in the Westminster Village. His enemies are old colleagues on the Tory side who see him as a turncoat, and for whom the last straw was that famous photograph of Sally Bercow clothed only in a sheet.

Ex-minister Elliot Morley admits biggest fiddle

Former environment minister Elliot Morley today admitted being Parliament's biggest expenses cheat.

Peer's peerless preserve

A marmalade produced by Environment Minister Lord Henley has won the top prize at the World Marmalade Awards. The Tory peer's recipe, which was originally his mother's, was named Best In Show at at the annual ceremony in Cumbria over the weekend.

Flood-defence plans are submerged by Whitehall cutbacks

Several new flood-relief schemes designed to protect thousands of properties have been put on hold, because the Environment Agency's flood-defence budget was slashed by £95m, or 27 per cent, for next year.

Extra cash to combat council house fraudsters

Councils are to get an extra £19 million to oust fraudsters who unlawfully sublet council and housing association properties, the Government said today.

End of council houses for life 'will hurt needy'

Ministers faced accusations last night of penalising the needy as they sounded the death knell for the days of an automatic council house for life.

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