Property 2 bedroom flat to rent in Glenloch Road, Belsize Park. On with Benham and Reeves for £475 per week.

Property industry welcomes crackdown on hidden charges in the rental market

2,000 jobs to go as Audit Commission is scrapped

The Audit Commission, the watchdog that monitors town hall waste, is to be scrapped with the loss of 2,000 jobs, the Government announced yesterday.

Audit Commission to be scrapped

The official watchdog responsible for ensuring local councils deliver value for money is to be scrapped, it was announced today.

Leading article: A blow for open government

The decision by the Communities and Local Government Secretary, Eric Pickles, to "lead the charge", as he put it, and publish all spending over £500 incurred by his department under the last government is a welcome step forward for openness. But it is also a canny bid to divert public attention away from the pain his department is planning to inflict on us and towards the pleasures taken at public expense by his predecessors.

Councils face ban on lobbying

Councils are to be banned from hiring lobbying companies amid accusations that they are using public money to run political campaigns.

Referendum plan for big council tax rises

The public will be given the power to veto excessive council tax rises, the Government said today.

Man guilty of pelting Baroness Warsi with eggs

A 23-year-old man was found guilty today of pelting eggs at a Tory peer.

Man in court accused of throwing egg at peer

A man accused of pelting Baroness Warsi with eggs will appear in court today.



Diary: Time for Ed to come out as the Black Baron's pal

Could Ed Balls' darkest hour herald the breaking of a glorious dawn?

Leading article: Dangers lie in David Cameron's hazy vision of social regeneration

The week began with a speech from David Cameron on the "Big Society", a variety of initiatives designed to empower local communities. And yesterday there came an announcement of plans to strip councils of their control of local planning.

Home-building figures could fall below 1923 levels

So many building projects have been abandoned since the coalition Government came to power that the number of new houses built next year could fall below 100,000 for the first time since 1923.

Minister to challenge councils on 'non-jobs'

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles will go to war on "council non-jobs" today in a strongly-worded speech challenging local authorities over whether all their staff are providing value for taxpayers' money.

Treasury says it can save £100bn by ending duplication of local services

A plan to save up to £100bn by streamlining locally-run public services is emerging as one of the "big ideas" in the government-wide spending review to find the deep cuts announced in the Budget.

Move to keep weekly bin collections

The Communities Secretary Eric Pickles is to order the local government watchdog to stop pressurising councils into abandoning weekly bin collections.

Bruce Anderson: Creative tension is binding the coalition

Civil servants would rather work for a rude but effective minister than for a courteous and weak one

Bin tax scheme put on the scrapheap

Plans for a "pay as you throw" bin tax have been scrapped as the Government looks to reward families who recycle rubbish instead.

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Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Atwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'