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.

Mr Miliband said the Coalition's 2015-16 budget would be the 'starting point' for a three-year cap on social security spending imposed by the next Labour government

A Labour government would mean benefits squeeze, under Ed Miliband's welfare cap

Breaking the link between benefits and inflation would be highly controversial for the party

The missing: Calls for better recording of care home runaways

Study urges councils to penalise children's homes if youngsters repeatedly abscond

Rob Ford: The Toronto mayor has described drug use allegations as 'ridiculous'

Toronto mayor Rob Ford clings on as 'crack video' scandal grows

Rob Ford has spent a week ducking a media storm over footage that allegedly shows him smoking crack

Rhiannon Whiting is a carer for her grandparents

180,000 children work as unpaid carers for relatives

Almost 10,000 five to seven-year-olds now work as carers, an increase of 80 per cent in a decade

Thousands of town hall staff on six-figure salaries

More than 2,500 town hall staff were paid more than £100,000 last year, according to details compiled by campaign group the TaxPayers’ Alliance which showed the number earning in six figures fell 11 per cent.

James Moore: Back to school in the US for National Express

Outlook Forget the bus, bosses at National Express need to get on a plane. Today's AGM promises some fireworks with demonstrations planned from the main union (the Teamsters) representing drivers of those iconic yellow school buses used in the US.

Laughing policemen: of the 343 local authorities assessed in the index, 278 are more peaceful now than they were ten years ago

Fall in violent crime: Britain - land of law and order

We’re constantly regaled with tales of our broken society. But a new report has revealed that violent crime is falling – and faster than in any other European country. Emily Dugan explains how it all went right

Editorial: Health and social care must be integrated

The Labour leader, Ed Miliband is stealing a march on the Coalition and daring to broach a problem that is long overdue for a solution

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'

Welfare reform ‘will hit private renters hardest’

Vast sums are being added to the cost of the health service and welfare state because of illnesses that people contract from living in sub-standard housing, an environmental health body has warned.

MPs fear benefit reforms will open door to fraudsters

Committee highlights concerns that IT system will have trouble distinguishing between genuine and fraudulent claims

Eric Pickles condemns 'under-the counter pay-offs' as £14m bill for gagging orders for 5,000 axed civil servants is revealed

200 staff in Whitehall and 4,562 in local authorities signed 'compromise agreements'

Tonya Bundick after her arrest yesterday

Woman charged over spate of US arson attacks

Police in Virginia have charged a woman with arson as part of an investigation into a spate of suspicious fires that have ravaged a remote corner of the US state in recent months.

David Cameron to announce tougher tests for social housing, including keeping immigrant families off council house waiting lists for five years

David Cameron to announce tougher tests for social housing, including keeping immigrant families off council house waiting lists for five years

Immigrant families will be kept off council house waiting lists for up to five years, under a crackdown being unveiled by David Cameron.

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Prices correct as of 17 April 2015
Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...