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The UK’s benefits and state pension are too low, the Council of Europe said yesterday – a claim that Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith dismissed as “lunacy”.

Leighton Baines pictured during the Merseyside derby which ended 3-3

Everton will not use Leighton Baines lay-off as excuse to open contract talks

The England full-back has been linked with a move to Manchester United

Sebastian Coates in action for Uruguay

Liverpool defender Sebastian Coates refuses to give up hope of playing at the 2014 World Cup

The Uruguay international has been out for most of the season

The Light Roller: A week is a long time in cricket

Diary of a cricket obsessive

Behind the times: Steven Gerrard’s England are still turning their back on change, beaten by teams with better tactics and more technically gifted players

Michael Calvin: England’s ’53 wake-up call still ignored

The Last Word: Anniversary of defeat finds national team still struggling with changed world order

Mitchell Johnson of Australia bats during day one of the First Ashes Test match between Australia and England at The Gabba

Ashes 2013-14: The Aussie Angle - Mitchell Johnson provides one of the few positives

The late coming of Mitchell Johnson – with the bat – has papered over the thick cracks that still race in all directions through the Australian top order.

Male victims of rape, sexual abuse and depression: Breaking the silence on International Men's Day

Those who mock today are mocking victims of a viciously gendered society

Rivers Pound has to pay an additional £120 for his 'spare' bedroom

The kidney patient subject to bedroom tax - even if room is used for dialysis machine

Plight of MP’s brother raises questions about fairness of controversial welfare reform

The number of detentions under the Mental Health Act is increasing

Stop using police cells for those experiencing mental health-related emergencies

If you’d just had a heart attack you’d never be held in a custody

‘We believe in David Cameron. He is God!’ PM mobbed by crowds on visit to Sri Lanka - but can he help?

Carry on in Colombo: Tamils have high expectations from the Prime Minister

Channel 4's ‘Bedlam’ is right to expose the tough reality of severe mental illness

We must ensure that our desire to protect vulnerable people from media exploitation doesn’t result in censorship of mental health issues

David Cameron insists that squeeze on public-sector spending is permanent

Prime Minister outlines vision of money-saving, slimmed-down government after 2015 election

Wikileaks, Bitcoin and Raspberry Pi named by UK trust for promoting 'inspiring social change'

Projects covered a range of areas including "social exclusion", "access to knowledge" and "civic empowerment"

UK Sale: £1.2bn... UK Tax: £0

National Living Wage Week: How can big companies, earning big profits, keep paying such little wages?

This isn't about paying people to subsidise extravagant lifestyles. Far from it

Sweet shop owner fined £400 for selling 30p Asda chocolate as £3 Wonka bars

Alexander Gwillym had tried to register his product as 'Mr Wonka Bar' rather than 'Wonka Bar'

Andrea Sutcliffe: 'I think of it as the Mum test: is it good enough for my Mum? If not, we need to do something'

CQC chief: I’ll open up care home inspections to the public'

League tables also to be introduced as part of moves to overhaul the regulation of adult care

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As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links