News Gamers in California using the Wii console as entertainment to play Wii Bowling.

The Department for Work and Pensions revealed the new system after a turbulent introduction of the Universal Credit programme

John Rentoul: Here lies electoral reform. R.I.P.

The political veteran started life as a much-loved idealist but withered away, neglected and outmoded

MPs to probe pre-release of official statistics

MPs are to examine the "highly questionable" practice of allowing ministers advance sight of official statistics after the Conservatives dropped plans to reform the system, it emerged today.

Scrapping quangos 'not ideological', says Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude

Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude insisted today that the Government was not on an "ideological" drive to scrap quangos.

Serco backpedals over rebate demands

'Unreserved' apology follows questioning of move by minister

Outsourcer Serco apologises over rebate demand

Outsourcing giant Serco today apologised for writing a letter to its suppliers demanding rebates in the face of Government spending cuts.

Consuming Issues: Swinging axe at every quango will not pay off

Hands up if you're getting a refund from Npower? OK, not that many – just 1.8 million people.

Julian Knight: Consumers burned in bonfire of the quangos

It cost just £5m a year to run Consumer Focus and the public will enjoy less protection now its work is going to Citizens Advice

Culled Audit Commission moves towards employee buyout

The Audit Commission, which reviews local public services, is ramping up plans for an employee buy-out since being named as one of nearly 200 quangos facing abolition.

Editor-At-Large: Paying workers to give up their jobs is bad housekeeping

If I get a nasty tax bill and have to cut back on my spending, there are obvious, if unpleasant, measures. Cut up credit cards. Set a daily cash budget and stick to it. Stop shopping, except for essentials. No frocks. Travel off-peak, shop for cheaper energy deals. Not exactly rocket science. To pay off debts you need a simple plan. Families are trimming their expenditure carefully as up to 600,000 public-sector workers face redundancy. So, we are told, is the Government.

Leading article: Quangos: efficiency or ideology?

A quango sounds like a monstrous beast conjured from the imagination of Lewis Carroll. There is something inherently preposterous about the very word. No wonder the public love the idea of the culling these quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisations and their hordes of politically correct bureaucrats. Until, that is, you ask whether it is a good idea to keep politics out of issues better decided by experts – like whether a new drug is value-for-money for the NHS. Or to keep politicians away from matters that require impartiality – like the news values of the BBC, one of the most precious quangos on the British national landscape. Some of the things that quangos do suddenly seem rather a good idea.

Cull of quangos scaled back after lobbying

Plans for a "bonfire of quangos" will today be scaled back by the Government after an intensive lobbying campaign.

'Serious prospect' of union agreement on civil servant redundancies

There is a "serious prospect" of getting unions to agree new redundancy terms for civil servants, Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude said today, which could bring an end to months of wrangling.

Efficiency review finds 'staggering waste'

A review of Government efficiency by a leading businessman has uncovered a "staggering" waste of money, it was revealed today.

Fury over civil service 'redundancy deal'

The Government was embroiled in a row with unions today after being accused of "bullying" civil servants to leave their jobs with reduced payouts.

The Sketch: Damned if I can work out what their plan is

"We have no plans to abolish child benefit." Was that true? Yes, but in the sense that "No decision has been made to invade Iraq" was true. Preparations went on for a year but the "decision" was made only when the orders were signed. In truth, there don't seem to be "plans" in what is obviously government by inspiration.

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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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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