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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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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
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
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10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

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Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test