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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”.

Kier wins contract to build new Broadmoor

The construction company Kier is to build a new £115m high-security home for notorious murderers including the Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe.

Iain Duncan Smith is facing criticism that Universal Credit leaves some families worse off

Working families will be ‘worse off’ under Universal Credit scheme

Some working families will be worse off under Iain Duncan Smith's flagship Universal Credit - even though it was intended to encourage people back into work, according to research published today.

Hundreds of thousands of carers will be promised new rights in the Queen’s Speech as the number of elderly and vulnerable people being looked after by family members continues to soar

The Government has no idea how cuts are impacting on disabled people - and no intention of measuring

Today Labour's Liam Byrne is demanding that the Government carry out a cumulative impact assessment to find out how welfare reforms are really affecting families

Premiership backs proposal for globally integrated rugby season

IRPA proposals given approval

Emergency hotline should be set up for depressed footballers at risk of suicide, says PFA chairman Clarke Carlisle

PFA and FA to hold urgent talks with Premier League and Football League to improve support for players suffering mental illness

Former BBC reporter Russell Joslin

BBC reporter threw himself under bus after 'cover-up' over harassment allegations he made against colleague

Family said BBC managers did too little to help when he contacted them to address the concerns

Stuart Broad says he is '100 per cent fit' for the Ashes

The Ashes: Stuart Broad backs fitness - but record raises fears

Fast bowler confident of playing at Trent Bridge next week following shoulder injection

Lord Freud: 'Food from a food bank is by definition a free good and there's almost infinite demand'

Food banks row: Bishop of Truro hits back at Lord Freud

'A lot of evidence some people have to use them because of benefits system glitches'

England in comfort zone in Essex Ashes warm-up mismatch

England's Ashes warm-up match lost its first-class status halfway through the third afternoon at Chelmsford to allow Boyd Rankin and Reece Topley to bolster Essex's injury-depleted attack.

James Horwill’s foot was said only to have glanced Alun Wyn Jones

Lions Tour 2013: Stamp ban storm hits Wallabies' Test hopes

IRB appeals James Horwill 'let-off' and replaces Kiwi hearing judge with British-Canadian

The Chancellor has suggested that after the next election, the Tories would make further welfare cuts rather than raising taxes

Spending Review: Chancellor George Osborne hints Tories would make further welfare cuts rather than increase taxes after next election

While respected fiscal think tank criticises George Osborne's decision to continue the freeze on council tax

The limits of the cuts are being reached

Rules of state spending are being reconsidered

The limits of the cuts are being reached – and now nowhere is safe from the axe

Open office: More room, less privacy

Open-plan offices affect employees' ability to concentrate, new study finds

Workers who spend a lot of time on tasks requiring focus find them difficult to complete when too close to colleagues

Chancellor George Osborne's Spending Review in the House of Commons this afternoon

Most public spending reviews create winners and losers. But there are no winners today

When George Osborne spoke today he evidently felt he was responding to the public mood. How long will that mood last?

Court artist sketch of Moors Murderer Ian Brady appearing via video at his mental health tribunal

Ian Brady still psychotic, says doctor

The child killer suffers from long-term paranoid schizophrenia which does not "just fade away and die", according to the clinician in charge of his care

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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
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 1 May 2015
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk