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.

UK weather: Britain faces another barrage of rain as coastal regions count cost of 'worst storms in 20 years'

Two dead, a teenager missing, damage to homes and businesses, transport disrupted. And it isn't over. More rain, high tides and gale-force winds are on the way

'NHS 111 is now a stable and improving service and we are confident it will continue to get better'

Botched launch of 111 helpline could cost NHS an extra £5.5m

The chief operating officer at NHS England said the service is 'now stable and improving, and we are confident it will continue to get better'

Whistleblower Julie Bailey, of the campaign group 'Cure the NHS' poses outside the Houses of Parliament with a copy of the report of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust Foundation Public Inquiry.

NHS whistleblower Julie Bailey abused on Facebook after being awarded CBE

Cure the NHS activist Julie Bailey and nurse Helene Donnelly were both mentioned in the New Year Honours List for their work as whistleblowers

Nearly eight years after this rally in Trafalgar Square in London, the problem of Islamophobia carries on

Islamophobia: Surge revealed in anti-Muslim hate crimes

Many forces reported a particular rise in anti-Islam hate crimes following the murder of soldier Lee Rigby

Troubled Serco left in limbo by delays in defence contracts

Outsourcing giant hit by ministry’s failure to choose  preferred bidders on time

Landlords quids in

Rents rise twice as fast as wages as landlords cash in on housing crisis

The cost of renting a property in England and Wales rose twice as fast as weekly earnings in the 11-months to November, as landlords cashed in on insatiable demand for homes.

Nicola Payne: Two arrested over young mother's 1991 disappearance

News comes just days after police launched a fresh appeal for information

The number of people sleeping rough in London has risen by 13 per cent in the last year

Sudden rise in homelessness blamed on housing shortage and the 'bedroom tax'

Homeless charities raise the alarm after rough sleepers rise by 13 per cent in London this year, and six per cent across the country

Over 8,500 children aged 10-12 have been arrested in England and Wales over the last two years

Thousands of children aged 10-12 arrested for violent attacks, rape and firearms

Over 8,500 children aged 10-12 have been arrested in England and Wales over the last two years, almost a quarter of which were made for violent attacks

Council bans use of word ‘Commie’ – but ‘fascist’ and ‘Nazi’ are fine

Birmingham City Council has revealed its official email blacklist, with some surprising results

The yellow wagtail has disappeared entirely from Wales

Birds that were once a common sight in Britain take flight, never to return

The sharp decline in some of Britain’s most common bird species is resulting for the first time in their disappearance from some parts of the United Kingdom, conservationists warn today.

There are 'huge disparities' in the quality of train services in different regions of Britain, according to a report for the Campaign for Better Transport

‘Huge disparities’ in train services across Britain

There are “huge disparities” in the quality of train services in different regions of Britain, according to a report for the Campaign for Better Transport.

Free vegetarian food is served at the Sikh temple in Ilford, Essex

Gurdwaras-turned-food banks: Sikh temples are catering for rise in Britain’s hungry

Each week across the UK, around 5,000 vegetarian meals are served to the needy

West Midlands double murder: Wesley Williams admits killing Yvonne Walsh and her seven-month-old baby son

Judge tells Williams to expect a 'very substantial' prison term

Controversial plans to create UK's first toll road for a decade 'to be dropped'

Improvements to the A14 will instead be paid for by the Government

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Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
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Blackest is the new black

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Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?