Local government in England should be given greater powers and increased tax-raising powers as their ability to discharge their responsibilities "sometimes appears highly restricted by central government", according to the Council of Europe.
Councils rejected more than half of all applications for homelessness support between October and December, prompting a charity to call for more to be done to prevent people losing their homes in the first place.
Brighton & Hove City Council has agreed its budget for 2014-15 following a joint amendment from the authority's Conservative, Green and Labour groups after councillors had blocked proposals that included raising council tax by 4.75 per cent.
The Independent Living Fund (ILF) will close in June 2015 and its resources will be transferred to local authorities and the devolved administrations, minister for disabled people Mike Penning has announced.
Benefit changes, unemployment and poor housing are worsening the mental health wellbeing of communities at the same time as budget cuts are reducing access to crucial support services, according to a new survey.