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

Tory Minister calls for house price stability

Home ownership should no longer be seen as a long-term financial investment, Grant Shapps, the Housing Minister, has declared.

Leading article: It will take more than words to make property affordable

Britain, at last, has a housing minister who recognises that it is not his job to sit idly by while housing becomes more expensive. In an interview at the weekend, Grant Shapps identified the social problems created by house price inflation very well: a generation of young people with scant prospect of ever owning their own home.

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.

Topsy-turvy: The year politics was turned on its head

As the parliamentary recess beckons, Matt Chorley assesses the Conservative Prime Minister, Liberal Democrat Deputy PM and new Labour Leader of the Opposition – and analyses the challenges ahead

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.

Why are some campaigners calling the Localism Bill a Nimby's charter?

It promises to give power to the community and herald a planning revolution

Extra cash to combat council house fraudsters

Councils are to get an extra £19 million to oust fraudsters who unlawfully sublet council and housing association properties, the Government said today.

Council job cuts hit 66,000

The number of job losses announced or threatened by councils in Britain because of the Government's spending cuts has reached 66,000, research revealed today.

I would have been denied mortgage, says minister

The Housing Minister, Grant Shapps, says he himself would have failed to get a mortgage had new proposals for the mortgage market drawn up by the City watchdog been in effect when he bought his home.

End of council houses for life 'will hurt needy'

Ministers faced accusations last night of penalising the needy as they sounded the death knell for the days of an automatic council house for life.

John Prescott 'spent lavishly' on office comforts

John Prescott's office authorised spending hundreds of thousands of pounds of taxpayers' money on "indoor plant landscaping" and "silver service" waiters when he was Deputy Prime Minister.

Online guidance on squatters launched

An online guide offering advice to people wanting to stop squatters from entering their properties was published today.

'At risk' children and elderly set to suffer as town hall cuts bite

Child protection and care for the elderly will be threatened by the savage squeeze on town hall funding, council chiefs warned yesterday.

Architects beginning to think big

Britain's homes have long had the smallest rooms in Europe, now a new generation of town planners and architects is urging us to rethink the way we use our shrinking urban space. Oliver Bennett reports

Birmingham Diary: Battle joined with the BBC as the baroness backs off

The first row between the Conservatives and the BBC started yesterday even before the Conference had officially opened. Tory spin doctors could be heard moaning that the live interview with the party chairman, Baroness Warsi, on BBC1's lunchtime Politics Show, was a "bear pit".

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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 15 May 2015
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

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King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
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Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

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Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

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An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent