Call for English councils to be given powers to regulate Airbnb

Caroline Lucas urges move to help ease ‘intolerable’ pressure on availability of local housing

Local councils in England must be given powers to regulate Airbnb and other short-term letting sites in order to alleviate the “intolerable” pressure they put on the availability of local housing, the Green party MP, Caroline Lucas, has said.

Her intervention followed a Guardian investigation that found one Airbnb listing for every four residential properties in some hotspots across Britain. Airbnb has disputed the finding.

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Danny Cipriani posts emotional video about ex-girlfriend Caroline Flack

Rugby player says he will release voice message presenter sent to him days before she killed herself

Danny Cipriani has posted an emotional video on social media about his ex-girlfriend Caroline Flack, saying she tried to call him before she died and that he would release a voice message from her.

Flack, who presented the ITV reality show Love Island, was found dead at her east London home on Saturday 15 February, having taken her own life.

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UK weather: weekend rain could cause further flooding

Environment Agency warns of heavy downpours in northern England and the Midlands

Heavy rain over the weekend could bring further flooding, the Environment Agency has warned.

England has so far received 141% of its average February rainfall over the almost continuous wet weather of the past fortnight, the agency said as it warned the deluges were set to continue into next week.

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Smile review – Dundee United’s ‘football pervert’ brought to hilarious grimacing life

Dundee Rep
Title-winning coach Jim McLean is played with raging mastery by Barrie Hunter in a two-hander that pulls some punches

He was the manager described by one player as a “football pervert”. An obsessive with a ruthless drive to win, Jim McLean was a master of the pitch. He turned Dundee United from a team of no-hopers at risk of relegation into a powerhouse squad that could take on Europe’s finest. But in terms of interpersonal skills, he was lacking. The title of Philip Differ’s play is ironic: it could well be called Grimace.

All of which makes McLean a tricky subject for dramatisation. As presented here in this funny two-hander, he is a man not given to reflection. When pressed, he’ll label himself a bad father and an unempathetic coach, but his devotion to the game overrides any guilt. “Je ne regrette fuck all,” he says.

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Labour MPs warn government over Windrush review

Concern after report of phrase ‘institutionally racist’ being removed from draft report

Politicians have warned the government not to water down a review into the Windrush scandal after claims that a section of a pending report that branded the Home Office “institutionally racist” was removed.

The Times newspaper reported sources saying the phrase “institutionally racist” was included in an earlier draft of the Windrush review, led by Inspector of Constabulary Wendy Williams, but had subsequently been deleted.

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India asks Oxford museum to return ‘stolen’ bronze statue

Ashmolean receives request for restitution of 15th-century idol of Saint Tirumankai Alvar

The Indian government has asked the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford to return a 15th-century bronze idol that was apparently stolen from a temple in the 1960s.

The Indian high commission in London said a formal request for restitution of the statue of Saint Tirumankai Alvar was made last Friday.

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Manchester bomber’s flat had funny smell, court told

Man who sub-let his council flat to Aimen Elwafi tells the trial of bomber’s brother that it was left in a bad state

A Libyan man who illegally sub-let his council flat to the Manchester Arena bomber said there was a “funny, strong smell” in his home when he returned to the 12th-floor property the month before the atrocity, a court has heard.

Aimen Elwafi said he was “so angry” at the state his flat had been left in, with Salman Abedi departing two weeks before the end of the agreed two-month period, that he intended to call the man and complain.

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Environmental and animal rights activists being referred to Prevent programme

Types of ‘concerns’ identified include far-left and anti-Isis extremism, FoI request reveals

Environmental and animal rights activists have been referred to the government’s controversial anti-radicalisation programme, the Home Office has admitted.

Responding to a freedom of information request, the Home Office provided a breakdown of reasons behind referrals of individuals who received specialist support for “other types of radicalisation” via its Channel programme, an arm of Prevent.

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Smaller than expected January surplus will be blow to new chancellor

Worsening of public finances comes as Rishi Sunak prepares to unveil budget next month

Britain’s public finances recorded a smaller than expected surplus in January in a blow to the new chancellor, Rishi Sunak, who is expected to announce a substantial rise in government spending in next month’s budget.

In the latest sign of a worsening in government finances as the UK economy falters, the Office for National Statistics said tax revenue outstripped spending by about £9.8bn last month, approximately £2.1bn less than in the same month a year ago. City economists had forecasted a £11.3bn surplus.

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Music industry fears bands will be unable to tour UK without visas

Professional body urges ministers to clarify proposed post-Brexit immigration rules

The music industry has urged the government to clarify its proposed immigration rules amid fears that bands from the EU will not be able to tour the UK without written permission or a visa.

They are the latest to warn of the economic risks posed by the new immigration rules which have already drawn criticism from the agriculture, hospitality and social care sectors.

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I know what housing insecurity is like. Rising prices are not good news | Suzanne Moore

Entire generations will struggle to be able to afford their own property – the market has failed them

Leaflets pile up on my doormat from estate agents. “For sale” signs are erected outside houses on my street. Tarpaulins covering exposed loft conversions blow in the wind. The signs are clear: people are looking for property in my area. I didn’t need a Daily Mail headline to shout at me: “House prices surging in EVERY region.”

In the UK, the value of life is measured in house prices, for those lucky enough to own one. To see house-price rises (especially those worth more than £900,000) as a cheery fact is to lack awareness. Rising prices are excluding entire generations from the housing market. See that housing ladder you climbed? Well, here’s the snake.

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Caroline Flack death: hair salons boycott ‘toxic’ gossip magazines

The presenter’s suicide has prompted dozens of businesses to replace showbiz titles with more positive material

Hair salons around the country are boycotting celebrity gossip magazines in order to “stop fuelling toxic publications” in the wake of Caroline Flack’s suicide.

Dozens of salons from London to Edinburgh and Chorley to Colchester are joining a growing movement to stop providing showbiz mags to customers and are replacing them with more positive material instead.

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