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.

Leighton Baines could receive a new contract as reward for his loyalty to Everton over Manchester United pursuit

United wanted England star to hand in transfer request to force a move to Old Trafford but 28-year-old was still at Goodison Park when the transfer window closed

Manchester robbery: Pensioner, 87, dies in hospital after being beaten in his home

Frank Worsley was woken up by an intruder who broke into his house

Housing staff ‘may be target of bedroom tax protests’

Staff at a housing association have been warned against wearing their uniforms outside working hours for fear of being attacked by anti-bedroom tax protesters.

Ashes 2013: Alastair Cook confident Kevin Pietersen will be fit for third Test

Calf complaint has made batsman a doubt

Shinji Kagawa shakes hands with his manager Jurgen Klopp during his time at Borussia Dortmund

Transfer news: Manchester United forward Shinji Kagawa rejected chance to re-join Borussia Dortmund reveals Jurgen Klopp

Kagawa has spoken about a desire to return to Dortmund one day but for now his focus is on United

Michael Cope was arrested on Friday night after police were called to an address in Leigh, Greater Manchester

Fugitive Michael Cope charged with murder of ex-girlfriend Linzi Ashton

A wanted man who handed himself in after nearly a month on the run has been charged with the murder of his ex-girlfriend.

Ashes 2013: Kevin Pietersen still doubtful for Old Trafford Test

England are continuing their anxious wait over Kevin Pietersen’s fitness for the third Test in the Ashes series.

Lightning at Poole Harbour; violent thunderstorms are expected over weekend getaway

Weather warning: Britain braces itself for worst weekend of the year to be on the roads

Severe weather warning as 'torrential rain' disrupts holiday getaway traffic for millions

Two teenage girls arrested in connection with Manchester blaze that killed fireman Stephen Hunt

Firefighter Stephen Hunt was part of a team responding to a fire at Paul's Hair World in Oldham Street

Man is arrested in connection with assisting an offender by police looking for Michael Cope

Michael Cope is wanted by Greater Manchester Police in connection with the murder of mother-of-two Linzi Ashton

Joan Smith: 'Until Hall suddenly changed his plea to guilty, he lied through his teeth about his assaults on girls'

BBC veteran Stuart Hall to be sentenced for sex assaults

Hall initially denied the allegations as 'pernicious, callous, cruel and above all spurious'

Zak Hardaker: I want Tomkins' position

Zak Hardaker, who will revert to full-back tonight for Leeds in their rearranged Super League match against Widnes, has insisted he will fight for a starting full-back place for England with the autumn World Cup on the horizon.

England captain Kevin Sinfield attempts to break the tackle of Sia Soliola

England defeat Exiles but fears over captain Kevin Sinfield

Steve McNamara's side record 30-10 victory but both Sinfield and Gareth Ellis leave with nasty looking injuries

Essex v Lancashire match report: Essex skittled for just 20 on day of humiliation

Essex 273 & 20 (Mickleburgh 10; Chapple 5-9); Lancashire 398 (Katich 122; Masters); 4-72 Lancashire win by an innings and 105 runs

Owen Coyle

Wigan confirm Owen Coyle will succeed Roberto Martinez after the former Bolton manager beats Steve McLaren to the post

The Scot returns to management following his dismissal by Bolton last year

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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
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 12 March 2015
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor