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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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project