News Council tax set to rise by as much as five per cent

The amount paid by households towards the cost of policing looks set to rise by up to five per cent this year as the Government faces a potential show down with its flagship Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) who are demanding above inflation increases in council tax to combat swingeing budget cuts.

Benefits Street residents charged with drug offences

Seven people have been charged following raids on the now-famous James Turner Street in Birmingham - including one of the stars of the Channel 4 documentary series

Mark Thomas and Becky Howe, both 23, are 'fuming' over their presentation in Benefits Street

Benefits Street: Ratings rise again as record 5.2m tune in to third episode

The show has added almost 1m viewers since the first episode two weeks ago

England and Wolves mourn death of goalkeeper Bert Williams

Former Wolverhampton Wanderers and England goalkeeper Bert Williams has died, aged 93.

Tom Winsor said that some communities 'from other cultures' choose to police themselves

Chief police inspector's comments on ethnic vigilantism condemned by justice experts

Tom Winsor had said that some communities 'from other cultures' choose to police themselves

Gerard is one of the younger residents of James Turner Street in Winson Green

Benefits Street: West Midlands Police chief owns house on James Turner Street

The West Midlands Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner has been a James Turner Street landlady for almost 12 years

West Brom striker Shane Long insists he is focusing on his future at the Hawthorns and not a rumoured transfer to Hull City

Transfer news: West Brom accept Hull City bid for striker Shane Long

Baggies have accepted undisclosed fee

Frank Skinner believes he 'made the right decision' to refuse a job on Benefits Street, despite never having seen the show

Benefits Street: Comedian Frank Skinner turned down narrating job

The comedian did not want to offend residents dependent on benefits

The iconic British brands sold 425,006 vehicles in 2013 - up 19 per cent on 2012

Jaguar Land Rover notches up record-breaking global sales

Iconic British brands sold 425,006 vehicles in 2013 - up 19 per cent on 2012 - and set records in 38 international markets

Chancellor should invest in Britain’s thriving creative industries, says think tank

Chancellor George Osborne should prioritise investment in Britain’s thriving creative industries, such as the arts and advertising, according to a new report from think tank IPPR.

Channel 4's series claims to shed light on life on benefits for residents of the street, including Smoggy pictured here

Benefits Street Twitter reactions: The angry, the idiotic and the defensive

Viewers took to social media to voice their opinions on C4's new documentary

Avon and Somerset Police has released this low-resolution image of Saber Haldari, who is wanted in connection with child sex offences in Bristol

Bristol man is 'significant risk to children' say police as they issue manhunt picture

Saber Haldari is believed to be in the country illegally

Frustrated passengers wait in the departure hall of Gatwick's North Terminal on Christmas Eve

Gatwick bosses learned of Christmas Eve flood just half an hour before

Gatwick bosses found out that a damaging Christmas Eve flood was on the way only half an hour before it happened, the airport’s chief executive revealed on Tuesday.

Bouncing Czech: A happy Libor Kozak celebrates his winning goal

Ciaran Clark wishes Aston Villa team-mate Libor Kozak well after breaking striker's leg in training ground tackle

The summer signing from Lazio will miss the rest of the season

Chancellor George Osborne has repeatedly insisted that the task of clearing the deficit is not completed

George Osborne insists Britain must make £25bn more welfare cuts in 2014

The Chancellor has branded 2014 the 'year of hard truths'

A Serco van used to transport defenders. Serco has also come under fire for overcharging taxpayers

Exclusive: No privatised lie detector tests for sex offenders following outsourcing scandals involving G4S and Serco

Decision to scrap outsourcing of controversial polygraph tests is latest blow to Government's privatisation plans following scandals involving G4S and Serco

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
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