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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Mickey Rourke celebrates his victory against opponent Elliot Seymour
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Former ‘Daily Mirror’ editor Piers Morgan
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Gordon and Tana Ramsay arrive at the High Court, London
newsTV chef gives evidence against his father-in-law in court case
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Actor Burt Reynolds last year
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Johnny Handle, Northumberland, Ted Relph, President of Lakeland Dialect Society, and Sid Calderbank, Lancashire, founder of the National Dialect Day
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The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
i100Mike Stuchbery, a teacher in Great Yarmouth, said he received abuse
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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game