Claire Malone

Wonder girl

David Cameron has promised to investigate the closure of a centre that has helped thousands of people overcome their disabilities.

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Top general warns Army cuts are 'one hell of a risk'

Restructuring the Army is "one hell of a risk" that will weaken the armed forces, one of Britain's most senior generals has warned.

The Government is cutting the regular Army from 102,000 to 82,000 by 2020, while the newly-renamed Army Reserve - formerly the Territorial Army - is being expanded from 19,000 to 30,000.

General Officer Commanding, Major General Richard Shirreff pictured during a Remembrance Day Service in 2006. Credit: PA

In an interview with the Sunday Times (£), General Sir Richard Shirreff said: "The sort of defence cuts we have seen... have really hollowed out the British armed forces and I think that people need to sit up and recognise that."

“I wouldn’t want to let anybody think that I think that Army 2020 is good news, it’s not.”

Read: Hammond dismisses Army cuts criticism as 'nonsense'

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'Bedroom Tax' protests expected around Britain

Protests are expected to take place in 53 towns and cities today. Credit: PA

A series of protests are due to take place across the country today against plans to cut benefits for social housing tenants who are considered to be living in a house which is too big for their needs.

Under the Government plans, social housing tenants deemed to have a spare bedroom stand to have their housing benefit cut from next month.

Protests against the so-called 'Bedroom Tax' are expected to take in 53 towns and cities including London, Manchester, Birmingham, Belfast and Glasgow.

What is 'Bedroom Tax'?

Defence Secretary will 'resist cuts to armed forces'

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has warned he will resist further cuts to the armed forces in Chancellor George Osborne's forthcoming spending review.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond onboard HMS Bulwark during a joint naval exercise with French forces off the coast of Toulon, France. Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire/Press Association Images

After No 10 warned publicly last month that the military would not be immune from further financial retrenchment, Mr Hammond made clear that he would resist anything more than modest "efficiency savings".

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, he said other Conservative Cabinet ministers believed that the greatest burden of any cuts should fall on the welfare budget.

TUC outlines priorities for 2013

New chief Frances O'Grady has outlined the TUC's three top priorities for the year ahead, reports the Mirror;

  • Urge the government to abandon the austerity measures and cuts and put investment in jobs and growth first.
  • Create a long-term vision for the economy with a new industrial policy and forge a laser-like focus on the need to create decent jobs and apprenticeships.
  • Build a fair society – with the poorest paid the Living Wage, more done to stop tax avoidance and evasion, and workers’ given a say on bosses’ pay.

O'Grady calls for 'real change' in economy

This all adds up a very different approach to the economy and a challenge to all the political parties, employers and indeed unions.

My strong belief is that when we look back at the period from the 1980s to the 2008 crash, historians will see these as exceptional times, as damaging in their way as the 1930s.

What will dismay them most is how slowly we are building a new economic model to replace the one that fell with Lehman Brothers. There is surprisingly broad consensus that we need real change.

– New TUC chief Frances O'Grady
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