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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Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect