News

Former staff of a development quango were sent for patchwork, pottery and jewellery-making lessons at taxpayers’ expense, an investigation has found.

Christmas boost for high street

Retailers were expressing cautious optimism yesterday that a rise in pre-Christmas sales compared with last year might help offset poor sales throughout the past 12 months.

Nine cities 'need greater powers'

NICHOLAS SCHOON

First privatised rail line is agreed

Rail privatisation: First line moves into private hands as Stagecoach signs contract for South West Trains becomes trap Book locked to grid strap Book locked top grid

Demanding consumers shun the traditional high street

GLENDA COOPER

Harris unrolls carpet format

Carpetright, the rapidly expanding carpet retailer run by former Harris Queensway chief, Sir Phil Harris, is to roll out a new format in a bid to capture 20 per cent of the UK market.

Channel rail link costs soar

Channel rail link costs soar

Harpist busks it on way to the top

LIZ SEARL

Honey, I've shopped the kids

Children make shopping stressful for parents, which is why creches are now big business. By Karen Falconer

PICK OF THE DAY THIS WEEKEND

PICK OF THE DAY

A LESSON FROM A HERETIC

MASTERCLASS 4: RATATOUILLE; Eclectic, Paul Gayler calls his cooking; some may call his various ratatouilles heresy. But it's the classic French dish he teaches Michael Bateman

Magistrate slashes Gormans' charge list

Magistrate slashes Gormans' charge list

Sunday trade lifts profits

The introduction of Sunday trading is increasing the pressure on town-centre shops, accelerating the drift towards out-of- town retail sites, according to a survey to be published today.

Banham quits in row over reform of counties

Sir John Banham, the man in charge of controversial plans to reorganise local government, resigned yesterday as the Government announced a big change in direction for the long-running review.

Rebel MP faces legal action by planners

Thurrock Council last night voted to go ahead with legal action against Teresa Gorman, the Tory MP for Billericay, rejecting a motion by the Essex council's Conservative group to drop the case and despite a threatened picket by the rebel MP herse lf, writes Jojo Moyes.

ON THE ROAD WITH THE BIG BOYS

Lorries and lorry-drivers are the outcasts of the road: ugly, threatening, dirty. Yet some see a strange beauty in their rough trade. This is the story of a writer whose enthusiasm for trucks became an irresistible obsession...
Sport
football This was Kane’s night, even if he played just a small part of it
Travel
travel Dreamland Margate, Britain’s oldest amusement park, is set to reopen
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Founders James Brown and Tim Southwell with a mock-up of the first ever ‘Loaded’ magazine in 1994
media
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Threlfall says: 'I am a guardian of the reality keys. I think I drive directors nuts'
people
Voices
voices The group has just unveiled a billion dollar plan to help nurse the British countryside back to health
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The Westgate, a gay pub in the centre of Gloucester which played host to drag queens, has closed
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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
The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss