News George Osborne has been accused of burying a 'stealth cut' in the Autumn statement

More than three million low-income families risk missing out on the economic recovery even if wages start to keep pace with inflation, according to an analysis for The Independent.

Two-year ban for shot putters

British shot putters Jamie Stevenson and Kieren Kelly have been banned for two years following their refusal to undertake an out-of-competition test at Loughborough University in January. The pair admitted the charge brought by UK Anti-Doping and accepted the ban which starts from 8 February.

Cost of living soars for low earners

People on low incomes are increasingly struggling to get by because of soaring inflation, research suggests.

Rooney strides to athletics success

A rousing victory for England, and one for Rooney too. Following in the footsteps of Hannah England, a winner of the women's 1500m final on Saturday, Martyn Rooney strode to an emphatic success in the final of the men's 400m on the third and concluding day of the Aviva European Trials and UK Championships. In stark contrast to his celebrated namesake out in Bloemfontein earlier yesterday, the 6ft 5in Croydon Harrier made his presence felt here on the north side of Birmingham. He made his considerable talent felt too, showing the sparkling kind of form with which he may well strike gold at the European Championships in Barcelona next month.

Shahzad is called in for Sidebottom

Ajmal Shahzad has been added to the England one-day squad as cover for Ryan Sidebottom, who has suffered a hamstring strain.

Athletics: Ennis's hope of British record washed out but victory proves sweet

Like Neil Finn and Crowded House, Jessica Ennis is on tour in Europe. Unfortunately for the Sheffield heptathlete, she has not brought the weather with her.

Bright start to season keeps Ennis on track for heptathlon glory

It was just an hour's drive for Jessica Ennis yesterday, a 57-mile hop from Sheffield to the Paula Radcliffe Track on the outskirts of Loughborough. There are still 795 days to go before the South Yorkshirewoman carries the nation's hopes into the Olympic arena down the M1 in London. The one-eyed mascots are in place and work has started on the running track and the in-field at the 2012 stadium. In the meantime, Ennis is keeping encouragingly ahead of schedule in her quest to present as a talismanic home figure for the main track and field arena.

Britain's little big shot proves size isn't everything

Sophie Hancock is a dwarf and proud of it, but expect her to walk tall at the Paralympic World Cup in Manchester this week

Ruck and Maul: Segregating fans isn't an option. This is a different brawl game

The hoary old holier-than-thou argument has been thrown at rugby union following the incident at Leeds which has led to Worcester players Chris Cracknell and James Collins facing an RFU disrepute charge on Tuesday. A couple of football writers cited the Harlequins fake-blood fiasco when accusing the oval-ball game of going easy on cheating and misbehaviour while looking down their noses at footie. This despite the Quins case ending with a coach given a three-year ban and a player suspended for four months for faking injury (yes, faking injury – if football did the same, there'd be no one left in a couple of weeks). True, Cracknell was "only" fined and suspended for two weeks by his club for the post-match fight on the Headingley touchline but this could amount to a dismissal if his contract is not renewed. And he and Collins face further sanction now from an RFU panel chaired by Judge Jeff Blackett, who banned Toulouse's Trevor Brennan for life (reduced to five years on appeal) for climbing into the crowd and punching an Ulster supporter in 2007. Will Blackett be lenient? Reports suggested the Worcester fracas was confined to the two players and their dads so, while being unacceptable, wasn't it fundamentally different to a player attacking a random member of the crowd? Rugby remains wary of starting down the road to football's segregation of fans and cutting them off from players.

Love not money drew me from land of my birth, says Kieswetter

Whatever the reasons, no matter how plausible the explanations, there will be something distinctly odd about the World Twenty20 match here this afternoon. Nominally, England are playing South Africa in a Super8 match to decide which of them has the best cricketers on the day in this form of the game.

Edgbaston stays Labour against odds

Labour held the key seat of Birmingham Edgbaston against all odds last night, despite losing several other constituencies across the Midlands.

As seats start to tumble, Labour looks to deal with Lib Dems for salvation

Labour chiefs were preparing to try to broker a power-sharing deal with the Liberal Democrats as Britain headed for a hung parliament.

Fly Me to the Reverend Moon, Radio 4<br/>The Essay: Running The World, Radio 3

Moonies were odd &ndash; until seals began running marathons

House doctor: Can we say no to our fussy buyer without losing the sale?

Question: We're midway through our home sale but have run into trouble. The buyer is making a lot of surprise demands via his solicitor – can the fridge and freezer be left behind; can the carpets be professionally cleaned; can we make sure the property is insured before completion? I'm terrified of losing the sale, it's taken an age to find a buyer. Can I say no without scaring him off? Carolyn Connor, Loughborough

Halsall goes back-to-back in retaining crown

World Championship silver medallist Fran Halsall experienced an intense few minutes which saw her retain her 100 metres freestyle title before making a hasty return to the pool to qualify for the 100m butterfly final at the British Gas Swimming Championships in Sheffield last night.

Adlington eases into final as Jackson suffers

Double Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington eased into the final of the 800metres freestyle as she dominated the event on the third morning of the British Gas Swimming Championships here yesterday.

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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor