UK News: Immigration chief tells firms to hire Britons

FIRMS should look to hire unemployed Britons as the Government's annual immigration cap for workers from outside the EU comes into force today, Immigration Minister Damian Green said.

Just 20,700 skilled workers will be allowed in this year, with 4200 places this month, and 1500 each month after that.

Bulger killer holiday row

THE mother of murdered toddler James Bulger has spoken of her fury after it emerged that one of his freed killers was allowed on an unsupervised holiday abroad.

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Denise Fergus said she was "disgusted" following reports that Robert Thompson was permitted to travel on a "lads' trip" to Europe while on parole.

Treasury denies claims families now worse off

THE Government today hit back at claims that families were facing a financial squeeze as a result of Chancellor George Osborne's tax and benefits changes, insisting the overwhelming majority would be better off.

The Treasury released figures which, it said, showed that the bottom 80 per cent of households in terms of income would, on average, gain from the changes. The charity Credit Action had calculated that households would lose, on average, 200 a year.

Lords talk phone scandal

THE News of the World phone-hacking scandal was set to be discussed in the House of Lords today after detectives bailed two senior journalists who were arrested in connection with the reopened inquiry.

Neville Thurlbeck, the Sunday paper's chief reporter, and former head of news Ian Edmondson were released by Scotland Yard detectives last night.

Doctor Who star set to stay

DOCTOR Who star Matt Smith said he does not want to give up his role as the Time Lord "any time soon".

The actor, who recently played novelist Christopher Isherwood in a BBC biopic, said: "It's certainly not a part I want to give up any time soon, and I love playing it."

OMAGH: Political leaders from both sides of the Irish border were set to be among mourners at the funeral of a Roman Catholic officer murdered by dissident republicans. Stormont First Minister Peter Robinson and Republic of Ireland premier Enda Kenny were to attend a requiem for Pc Ronan Kerr.

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DERBY: A Conservative city council candidate has said he is "truly sorry" after lying during a radio phone-in about honesty in politics. Ashley Waterhouse, 22, rang BBC Radio Derby's breakfast show calling himself "Paul in Normanton" because candidates could not take part.

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