News High ideals: Labour has built around 400 homes in each of its local authority areas since the election

Conservative councils build only half as much affordable and social housing

Up to 450,000 face court over council tax arrears

156,500 people in England have received summonses in response to the changes to benefits six months ago

The minister’s staff accused Labour of going on a “glorified fishing expedition”

Exclusive: Eric Pickles’ officials ‘tried to suppress emails’

Officials working for Tory minister Eric Pickles have been accused of an extraordinary attempt to suppress internal government emails – on the grounds that publishing such correspondence could lead to unwelcome “political and media exposure”.

New homes should have bin stores, says Eric Pickles

New homes should be built with storage areas for wheelie bins to end the scourge of “bin-blighted” streets in England, the Communities Secretary has said.

Ken Clarke calls Ukip 'a collection of clowns' and claims some of the party's supporters are racist and wouldn't vote Tory

Clarke also agreed with David Cameron's view that the party contained 'fruitcakes and closet racists'

Zac Goldsmith is one of the Tory MPs on the committee which has criticised the Government's plans

Relaxation of planning policy will guarantee disputes between neighbours, warns Zac Goldsmith

Coalition planning reforms which will be voted on tonight are a “recipe for community disharmony”, a Conservative MP leading a rebellion against the changes warned today.

Free school meals could soon be scrapped and people paid to look after elderly neighbours as councils take desperate measures to deliver a “tidal wave” of spending cuts

Free school meals may be scrapped by councils under 'tidal wave' of cuts

Think-tank warns of 'a tidal wave of cuts that makes the 1980s look like a day at the beach'

Hilary Benn, the shadow Communities Secretary said: “All over the country, people on very low incomes will be asked to pay sums of money they simply cannot afford, just like the hated poll tax.”

Controversial plans to force millions of low income families to pay more council tax will be tested in court

Controversial plans to force millions of low income families to pay more in council tax from April are to be tested in the courts, it emerged today.

Closing children's heart surgery units? Time to rethink your NHS 'strategy' Mr Hunt

These units do a tremendously important job - let's not forget that

Young, disillusioned, and ready for Ed?

Young voters have been consistently let down by mainstream political parties. Has the Labour leader done enough to win them round?

Eight Conservative-led town halls to campaign against council tax benefit cuts

Eight Conservative-led town halls are to join forces to campaign against cuts to council tax benefit.

Thousands protest against closure of children's heart unit at Leeds General Infirmary

Parents, nurses and MPs joined together today to take part in a demonstration against the ending of children's heart surgery at a hospital.

Nick Clegg to announce extra powers for cities

Some of England's largest cities will gain greater powers over their economies and transport under a series of deals with the Government announced today.

Eric Pickles faces anger over comments on ethnic minorities

Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, faced anger last night after he claimed members of ethnic minorities who could not speak English “like a native” could become a sub-class “stuck in a ghetto”.

Tinker Tailor Soldier director Tomas Alfredson with one of the film's stars Gary Oldman

Diary: Try to see it Piers's way

I'm not entirely sad to say that Piers Morgan's problems haven't gone away just yet. And nor, I imagine, have those of the once-married Heather Mills and Paul McCartney. In 2006, Morgan wrote of having heard a touching voicemail left for Mills by McCartney after an argument. So touching was said voicemail, claims the bothersome blogger Guido Fawkes, that Piers played it to the Mirror newsroom so that any Beatles-loving colleagues might share the moment when Macca warbled "We Can Work It Out" to his wife.

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No postcode? No vote

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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
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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