Riot-hit communities need more than this lazy policy

Too often government tries to "fix" communities whose problems can only truly be solved from within

The DWP, where the Secretary of State is Iain Duncan Smith, launched an inquiry into A4e which resulted in it being stripped of one of its contracts to help the jobless find work in May after ministers concluded that continuing would be 'too great a risk'. However, the company still holds 11 contracts with the Government

Ministers missed key evidence of fraud in welfare-to-work scheme

MPs condemn DWP for lax management of A4e and failure to identify malpractice

Leading article: Politics to be sure, but a wealth tax merits a look

In their liability to tax, it seems, the rich are still different from the rest of us

'Blade runner' Oscar Pistorius has helped spark unprecedented interest in the Paralympics

London 2012: Sports minister urges Games fans to watch Paralympics

The Sports minister Hugh Robertson is urging people to watch the Paralympics and buy tickets for the events.

Postcard from...Friuli VG

Few Italians and even fewer foreigners make it to Friuli Venezia Giulia or Friuli VG as its known, the mountainous region north of Venice that borders Austria and Slovenia. But those who do are unlikely to regret it.

Cowboy tax advisers to be named

Cowboy tax advisers who use avoidance schemes that push the law to its limits will be named and shamed, the Government said today.

Another Olympics threat as Home Office staff vote for strike

Thousands of staff at the Home Office, including airport immigration workers, have voted to go on strike over jobs, pay and other issues, raising the threat of industrial action hitting the Olympics.

British personality Keith Allen, father of pop singer Lily Allen

Keith Allen defends TV drug experiment

Keith Allen has defended a forthcoming Channel 4 programme in which he is seen under the influence of drugs and said it is "insane" to suggest it glamorises their use.

Number of children living in vulnerable families to rise to one million by 2015, leading charities warn

The number of children living in vulnerable families will see a dramatic rise to one million by 2015 unless urgent action is taken to protect them, three of the UK’s leading charities warn today.

NHS could start charging for services and treatments within 10 years

The NHS could start charging for some services and treatments within the next 10 years after new research suggests a further decade of austerity will leave the status-quo unsustainable.

Phil Wilson: Big Society? My party has a prior claim

We must not let the Tories hijack what should be ours

Amol Rajan: A revelation of Britishness in the heart of the NHS

On Tuesday I had a minor operation at University College Hospital (UCH) in London. Nothing serious, you'll be disappointed to discover. Yet seven hours in the very bowels of our National Health Service, in a week when the Care Quality Commission reported that more than a quarter of NHS and social care services in England are failing to meet essential standards, prompted three main reflections on what it means to be British today. These are general sentiments, not policy prescriptions.

HMRC workers strike over job cuts

Tax offices were closed today and calls to telephone inquiry lines were met with a recorded announcement because of a strike by tens of thousands of Revenue and Customs (HMRC) workers.

Government spending cuts comment made 'off the cuff'

Downing Street sought today to play down a warning by Britain's most senior civil servant that the country could be facing a decade of spending cuts.

Alex Salmond with actor Alan Cumming at the launch

Broken union is not anticipated as hotly as Alex Salmond thinks

The ScotNats are adamant the country is clamouring for separateness, but it may not be that simple. By Andrew Grice

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Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
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Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
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Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
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Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
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Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
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Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
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The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick