News Council tax set to rise by as much as five per cent

The amount paid by households towards the cost of policing looks set to rise by up to five per cent this year as the Government faces a potential show down with its flagship Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) who are demanding above inflation increases in council tax to combat swingeing budget cuts.

Nicola Marshall with her son

Government's adoption drive hailed a success as rates rise 10%

The number of children adopted annually in England and Wales rose by almost 10 per cent between 2011 and 2012, official figures published tomorrow show.

The number of detentions under the Mental Health Act is increasing

Mentally ill patients sectioned unnecessarily as 'only way' to a hospital bed

Chair of the Health Select Committee says claims amounted to 'more than anecdotal evidence' and should be urgently investigated by the Department of Health

Rent out your driveways, Eric Pickles tells homeowners as he vows to clamp down on 'parking tax'

Communities Secretary argues renting out spaces can help households increase their income 

Eric Pickles' approval of a council's building plans was shot down by judicial review

Allotment holders win victory over Eric Pickles' building plan

Communities Secretary had to backtrack after approving moves by a council to build homes on a 2.7 hectare patch of land

Of the ten biggest surpluses ten came were from London councils with Westminister heading the top of the list with a £41.6m profit before spending on road infrastructure was taken into account

Councils rake in millions from parking fines as RAC attacks authorities' 'nice little earner'

Parking charges are providing huge cash surpluses for some councils with the 359 town halls across England having a total current account surplus of £565m

More allotments are being sold off by councils

Allotment-holders take legal action against Eric Pickles

Legal action launched over decision to allow sale of sites

Two dead after 'suspicious' flat fire in west London

Two others are being treated for multiple injuries as 58 firefighters battle the blaze in Hounslow

Horsemeat

Slow, badly executed, indecisive and poorly communicated - watchdog rapped for 'wait-and-see' handling of horsemeat crisis

Some of regulator's staff  had 'limited experience' of food-safety crises, official report concludes

Khat is banned in the Netherlands

Theresa May to ban Khat in face of advice from drugs advisers

Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs ridiculed suggestions that its supply is linked to terrorist groups

Education is about more than making a fast buck, Mr Gove

One thing sticks in my mind from my visit to Sweden to study their free schools system – upon which Michael Gove has based many of his education reforms.

George Osborne praised Eric Pickles, pictured, as

Eric Pickles' Communities Department - charged with getting local council budgets under control - fined for £217m unauthorised overdraft

Margaret Hodge describes department finances as 'a shocking example of incompetence'

Half-brother of Tory MP John Whittingdale held in abuse inquiry

Charles Napier arrested as part of investigation in to alleged abuse at the Elm Guest House in the 1980s

Court of Protection: Out-of-hours process is one-sided and inherently unfair - and it must change

It only takes 237 words written by a single social worker on form COP3 (a Court of Protection “Assessment of Capacity” application) for a judge to decide to imprison someone in a care home. I know because I counted the words in the assessment relating to case I am involved with.

Bomb disposal team is called to mosque in Walsall after suspicious item discovered

Residents say an explosion was heard on Friday evening before the item was discovered on Saturday

Missing 14 year old girl Lorna Vickerage, left and John Bush, right, 35. The teenager has been missing since 10 June and police believe she has vanished with a man over twice her age, believed to be John Bush

Lorna Vickerage found: Missing 14-year-old girl from Doncaster and family friend John Bush found near London's Euston station

The pair apparently tried to check into a hotel in Watford, but Bush's card was declined

Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol
art'Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' followed hoax reports artist had been arrested and unveiled
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

Voices
Stephanie first after her public appearance as a woman at Rad Fest 2014
voices

Arts and Entertainment
James Blunt's debut album Back to Bedlam shot him to fame in 2004
music

Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'

News
news

Endangered species spotted in a creek in the Qinling mountains

News
peopleJust weeks after he created dress for Alamuddin-Clooney wedding
Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Sport
football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Leonardo DiCaprio talks during the press conference for the film
films

Film follows park rangers in the Congo

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Berlin, Dresden, Meissen & Colditz
Prices correct as of 17 October 2014
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album