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

Government plans to relax cycling by-laws

Hundreds of miles of cycle routes could be created across England following a move to make it easier for councils to scrap outdated local laws.

Rents could top £2,000 a week during Games

In Vancouver, which hosted the 2010 Winter Games, landlords cashed in by forcing out tenants and selling houses

Housing industry 'rebound' observed

The housebuilding industry showed signs of recovering during the first quarter, with the number of new properties started jumping by 26%.

Defence Secretary to unveil military covenant

Defence Secretary Liam Fox will unveil the new military covenant today - promising extra help for the armed forces after the Government bowed to pressure to enshrine their rights in law.

Buyers beware of new-build home headaches

Developers' incentives may be tempting, but costly pitfalls litter the road to completion, warns Chiara Cavaglieri

Council chief given 'unfit' payout then gets £200,000 role

Retired on health grounds with £50,000 a year pension – only to be hired by another authority

Miliband says 'fighting cuts' is election theme

Ed Miliband claimed Labour would be the public's "first line of defence" against the Coalition Government's spending cuts yesterday as he launched his party's campaign for the 5 May local elections.

'Zero-carbon' homes can still emit CO2

Newly built houses will be allowed to emit tons of CO2 every year and still be called "zero carbon" under new rules being considered by ministers.

UK house-building at lowest level since 1923

The number of new homes completed in England last year fell to its lowest level since 1923, Government figures showed today.

'No easy fix' to help first-time buyers

There is no "magic bullet" that will remove the problems faced by first-time house buyers, Michael Coogan, director-general of the Council of Mortgage Lenders, warned yesterday. He told the First-Time Buyers summit called by the Housing minister, Grant Shapps, that mortgage insurance, shared ownership and product innovation could all potentially help, but that returning to a normal mortgage market was likely to be a gradual process, as confidence was restored.

Julian Knight: As Which? wades in, perhaps we can end card-handling fee con

£36 in fees for one airline booking when the real cost is 20p? It's consumer abuse, pure and simple

Tim Walker: Abbey Road is not my memory lane

If you read a newspaper yesterday – almost any newspaper – you'll be aware that it's precisely 50 years since the Beatles played their first show at the Cavern Club in Liverpool. Given they didn't break up until 1970, this means we can all look forward to almost a decade of semi-centennial Beatles stories. Put it in your forward planners: October 2012 is the 50th birthday of "Love Me Do", the band's debut single. In 2013, it'll be half a century since their first LP.

Cuts threaten 2,000 Manchester council jobs

One of the country's biggest local authorities warned today of 2,000 redundancies, sparking threats of industrial action and taking the council jobs cull caused by the Government's spending cuts to almost 114,000.

Judges get power to fast-track eviction of nasty neighbours

Judges are to be given new powers to fast-track the eviction of tenants who harass their neighbours.

Money Insider: Cheaper rates on bank loans don't go far enough

It's not just the high-street retailers that are trying to encourage us to keep on spending. Banks are also getting in on the act with some lower personal loan rates on offer as we kick off 2011.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 1 May 2015
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk