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

Rural exodus leads to dozens of village schools closing

Ministers say relaxation of planning laws will boost rural communities by enabling affordable housing

Mortgage approvals increase to 14-month high

The squeeze on mortgage borrowers is easing, according to lending figures released yesterday by the Bank of England. Approvals for home purchases in July numbered 49,239, up from 48,500 in June. Approvals are now at their highest level since May 2010 as building societies and banks continue to increase their lending to prospective home buyers.

Mark Steel: When in doubt, blame red tape

The problem, apparently, is red tape. It's stifling business and preventing growth, because red tape is evil, and you can no more argue in favour of red tape than say, "I don't wish to contribute to the fight against cancer as I think we should have more of it".

Houseboats to provide key to UK housing crisis

The government has unveiled its latest answer to the shortage of affordable homes in Britain: it wants more people to live on houseboats.

Liverpool urged to make stadium decision by minister

Housing minister Grant Shapps has called on Liverpool to make a swift decision on their stadium plans to prevent ongoing uncertainty in the area.

Ayre accuses government in Liverpool stadium row

Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre has angrily responded to housing minister Grant Shapps after he criticised the amount of time it is taking the club to decide on its stadium future.

Paul Vallely: Vengeance is not the answer

Court sentences and communities seek revenge, but that merely perpetuates a damaging cycle

Riots: Cameron under attack

Boris Johnson calls for U-turn on police numbers, while No 10 ridiculed over plans to use water cannon

At the bottom of the ladder: Why shared ownership ends in disappointment for many people

Part-buy, part-rent schemes offer to fulfil the dreams of first-time buyers. But they're not always an easy option, says Oliver Bennett

Government plans to scrap squatters' rights

Squatters could be jailed and so-called "squatters' rights" scrapped under Government plans.

Shapps: Mortgage lenders must do more

Mortgage lenders came under a two-pronged attack yesterday, as the Government and the building industry demanded they do more to kick-start the property market. But lenders pointed out that the schemes called for were already available.

Scheme launched to help first-time buyers

A new scheme aimed at helping first-time buyers to get a foot on the property ladder was launched by the Government today.

House Doctor: 'How long until I can get on the first rung of the property ladder?

Question: I'm due to graduate with a Masters degree and have been fortunate enough to land a job paying a very decent £35,000 a year.

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.

Wealthy council tenants face review

Tenants who earn more than £100,000 a year could be removed from their council houses under plans being examined by the Government.

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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
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing