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The firm carrying out the Government’s controversial “fitness for work” tests on disabled benefit claimants is a “disgrace” and should be stripped of its contract, Labour will say on Monday.

John, 9, Duwayne, 13, Jade, 10, Jayden, 5, Jesse, 6, and Jack Philpott, 7, all died after a blaze was started deliberately at the family's semi-detached house in Allenton, Derby
The Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith

'Bedroom tax': now Duncan Smith offers concessions to foster carers and armed forces' parents

Foster carers and parents of serving armed forces personnel will be exempted from welfare deductions if they have spare rooms, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has announced.

The Sketch: Two balding blokes and the battle of the Bill

Two balding men who look remarkably alike went head-to-head in the Commons today, trading statistics and insults with a pleasing symmetry.

Labour defends plans to deprive the long-term unemployed of benefits if they refuse to take job offer

Labour today defended its plans to deprive the long-term unemployed of their benefits if they refuse to take up the offer of a “guaranteed” job.

Most benefits up 20 per cent since 2007

Iain Duncan Smith’s campaign to show how the welfare system discourages claimants from working was backed up yesterday with newly published figures from his department about how different groups have fared under the recession.

Government's Work Programme only helps one person in three find a job

The Government will today order private firms running its schemes to help the jobless find work to “raise their game” as official figures show its £5bn Work Programme has made a disappointing start.

Student Liam Byrne 'fortunate' to survive parachute failure

A student who ended up stuck in a tree after falling 3,000ft (914m) when his canopy failed to open on his very first parachute jump was “very fortunate”, firefighters have said.

Labour leadership disowns threat to OAP benefits

The Labour leadership slapped down a shadow minister last night who suggested that a Miliband government could target universal benefits such as the winter fuel allowance and free bus passes for pensioners.

Labour leader Ed Miliband aims to take the North of England

Local elections: Labour hopes to gain if it's a dismal night for Lib Dems

While Ed Miliband aims to take the north of England, expectations are low for Nick Clegg's party

Cameron 'knew nothing' of investigation into A4e

Warnings that police were investigating fraud allegations involving Emma Harrison's company were not passed to David Cameron before he appointed her as his "families tsar", Downing Street said yesterday.

Mary Ann Sieghart: How austerity is changing us

Instead of seeking gratification by going shopping, we are achieving it by finding new ways of saving money

Lords may ambush plans to limit benefits

Plans to impose an annual limit on benefit payments could be ambushed in the House of Lords following a warning from within Whitehall that the move risked making 40,000 families homeless.

Labour must 'learn from the past but not live in it', says Liam Byrne

Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary said Labour would need policies for a different economy, welfare state and form of government

True colours? Is Blue Labour the way forward for the left?

In the Westminster village, the talk is of 'Blue Labour'. But does this nascent ideology offer a real way forward for the left, asks Amol Rajan – or is it just another empty political buzz-phrase?

Experts wary despite jobless unemployment drop

Unemployment fell in the first three months of the year but economists today warned the broader picture fuelled concern for the future of the labour market.

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Fans take a selfie with Ed Miliband in Kempston, near Bedford, on Tuesday
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General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'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