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

The day the bookworms turned

A Slice of Britain: On a day of action to save the nation's libraries, the quiet dignity of protesters in one small village in Middle England speaks volumes. And the historic building they are fighting for is at the heart of their community

Call for councils to share buildings

Public services such as police, health clinics, fire brigades and job centres should consider moving in with local councils to save money, the Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said yesterday.

Editor-At-Large: Never mind the old and ill – protect the sacred wheelie bin

Eric Pickles reckons he's got his finger on the pulse of middle England. In Pickles-world, what is the single biggest issue keeping us all awake at night? Rubbish.

Eric Pickles: 'Tories fought 'gentle' by-election campaign

The Conservative Party fought a "gentle" campaign in the first by-election test for the coalition, Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said today.

Overdue! The fight to save our libraries begins

Hundreds of branches are under threat as local councils plan cuts that will erode Britain's cultural base

DJ Taylor: Artfully, those pesky motorists dodge the bullet once more

Its been a good week for car-owners, Romeo Beckham, and Charles Dickens. But Mark Twain has taken a politically correct battering (if that's possible ...)

Diary: They should move 'Extra' Pickles to the MoD

Communities Secretary Eric "Extra" Pickles has doubtless been described as Churchillian before now, for his considerable size if not his statesmanship. Yet even the great former Prime Minister would be impressed by the number of wars his Conservative descendant has declared, fought and/or finished. Yesterday, Extra called a ceasefire in what he described as "Whitehall's War on the Motorist". In December, he hailed the end of the non-existent "War on Christmas" (his words). He even produced a series of YouTube clips during the general election entitled "Eric Pickles' War Room briefings". Meanwhile, the media has accused Extra of "declaring war" on – among other things – town halls, "street clutter", "council non-jobs" and "bossy bollards". Two questions: should Extra be moved to the MoD (with all that military experience, he's clearly wasted at DCLG)? And could we declare war on the use of "war on ... "?

A New Year message from the people of Britain

The Government asked how we can all have more freedom. Citizens responded in their thousands. We reveal the red tape, rules, and regulations that many of us want swept away

Builders finally start on £500m flats – four years after eco-battle

A legally fraught £500m luxury-flats scheme in west London is set for development after years of planning battles with angry environmental campaigners.

Government's secret talks to aid Lib Dems in by-election

The Cabinet has secretly discussed plans to boost the Liberal Democrats' chances of winning next month's by-election in Oldham East and Saddleworth. The Cabinet talks will infuriate Tory traditionalists, who suspect that David Cameron would be happy for the Liberal Democrats to win the contest.

Terence Blacker: A protest worth making if you care about our landscape

To the 22,000 pylons which currently exist, with their 4,375 miles of overhead cable, would be added thousands more

Cuts to council funding 'deeper in poorest areas'

Official figures show cuts to local council funding are on average four times deeper in the poorest areas of the country than the best off, Labour said today.

Top Lib Dem criticises Tory ministers over cuts

Nick Clegg has been urged by the leader of the Liberal Democrats' local councillors to "rein in" two senior Tory ministers who he accused of being "a disgrace" for denying spending cuts would lead to town hall job losses and service reductions.

Diary: Will Shane bowl Hugh over?

Knowing how much he enjoys rabbiting on about his own personal life given half a chance, I'm surprised my old golfing pal Hugh Grant still hasn't offered his public congratulations to Liz Hurley and her new bit of Antipodean rough, Shane Warne.

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