News Iain Duncan Smith blamed civil servants for not giving him the full picture of teething problems of universal credit

Iain Duncan Smith has suggested being on benefits is a form of slavery and he is like abolitionist William Wilberforce through his introduction of welfare reforms.

MPs handed £3.2m expenses payout

MPs were paid £3.2 million in expenses from the final two months of 2010, the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) disclosed today.

Clegg's own work experience casts shadow over social mobility drive

Nick Clegg had to own up to some embarrassing truths about his own privileged background yesterday as he launched his campaign to give everyone more equal opportunities in life.

Ian Duncan Smith to outline state pension plan

Iain Duncan Smith will today outline plans to create a flat-rate £140-a-week state pension after condemning the existing system as complex and in "crisis".

Mary Ann Sieghart: From the sublime to the ridiculous

If Miliband doesn't provide more direction for his party and more definition for himself, he may end up like William Hague

Self-employed set for higher state pensions

Self-employed people will receive a higher state pension. Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, will pledge that people running business will benefit from his plan to scrap means-testing and bring in a flat-rate pension of about £155 a week.

Osborne's secret plan to raise tax – and scrap national insurance

Radical reform that has been shunned by past chancellors may be taken up by the Coalition

Unemployment rises to 2.5 million – a 17-year high

Unemployment has risen to 2.53 million, the highest it has been since 1994, with the rate of youth unemployment soaring to a 20-year peak.

Government eyes reform of basic state pension

The basic state pension needs radical reform and cannot be immune from the Coalition Government's welfare shake-up, Iain Duncan Smith will declare today. The Work and Pensions Secretary wants to scrap the pension credit top-up scheme introduced by Labour for over-60s on low incomes and instead give people more incentive to save. The move could be signalled in the Budget on 23 March.

Teen pregnancy rate lowest for 30 years

Health campaigners lauded a historic low in teenage pregnancy yesterday but warned that government cuts will soon send the numbers rising again.

Leading article: Cameron's shaky grip

It is becoming harder to escape the growing realisation that the Prime Minister's supposed virtues might be vices. The collegiate chairman of the Cabinet, who delegates to his ministers and floats above the fray, is beginning to look like a broad-brush front man who has been forced into a series of U-turns to limit the damage caused by his inattention to detail. The well-meaning advocate of greater civic responsibility and collective sacrifice is beginning to look like someone who thinks that the Big Society is for the little people. The leader who wants to be the heir to Blair, but to learn from Tony Blair's self-confessed failure to press ahead with reform quickly enough in his first term, is beginning to look like someone urging his ministers to rush into changes that they have not thought through and about which he finds out too late.

The Sketch: IDS takes the lid off social reform as Dave flatters the feckless

It probably wasn't solely to annoy Polly that they held their poverty presser in Toynbee Hall but it must have been an incidental pleasure. Iain Duncan Smith and David Cameron announced the Tory welfare plan in that Edwardian palace of civic goodwill and self-improvement. I'm not sneering at either mind you, that's a trick you find on the professional left. But the venue was iconic, and part of the message-sending thing they enjoy doing – like Ed Balls eating the Kleinwort Benson canapes.

Another blow for workers in the 'squeezed middle'

Hundreds of thousands of people who come off benefits to take jobs could be worse off as they move up the income scale under the Government's sweeping welfare reforms.

What's in the Welfare Reform Bill?

The Government has pledged the biggest shake-up of the benefits system in 60 years, saying that 2.7 million households will be better off and almost a million people will be taken out of poverty.

Government ditches housing benefit cut

The Government has dropped controversial plans to cut housing benefit for long-term dole claimants, it was confirmed today.

Cameron pledges crackdown on jobless to cure 'sicknote culture'

David Cameron will pledge today to cure Britain's "sicknote culture" as he signals another crackdown on jobless people accused of not making enough effort to find work.

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him
musicIndie music promoter was was a feature at Carter gigs
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Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
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Performers dressed as Tunnocks chocolate teacakes, a renowned Scottish confectionary, perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
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Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
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Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
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La Roux
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Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
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The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
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Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
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Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
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The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
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Jokes on Hollywood

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