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Rent virtually unaffordable for those on low incomes or welfare, survey finds

Anglicare Australia wants budget to relieve ‘poverty trap’ created by low support payments and soaring rents

Australia’s rental market is virtually unaffordable for those on low incomes or government welfare, according to a detailed new study.

In a survey of 67,000 properties by Anglicare Australia, less than 2% were affordable for single households receiving government welfare and only 2.83% were affordable for someone on minimum wage even without government payments. Single people on a disability pension could afford only 0.87% of rental properties nationwide.

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It’s going to be a bloodbath': Tories target high-profile Labour seats

Conservatives eye seats in Midlands and northern England in the hope of claiming scalps of current and former shadow ministers

Conservative campaigners are planning to target high-profile Labour MPs, some with large majorities, in the hope of unseating current and former shadow ministers including Liz Kendall, Tom Watson and Vernon Coaker.

Labour is set to send resources for election battles in seats that the party would normally consider to be safe, including campaigns to shore up MPs in some northern England seats who have majorities of more than 10,000.

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Theresa May considering scrapping 'triple lock' on pensions

Policy that guarantees increase in basic state pension each year could be ditched for a weaker ‘double lock’ and money used for social care instead

Theresa May is seriously considering replacing the “triple lock”, which guarantees a minimum increase in the state pension, with a less generous “double lock” and could free up some of the money saved to spend on social care.

The existing system guarantees that the basic state pension will increase each year by whichever is the largest of inflation, average earnings, or 2.5%, but it has become expensive to fund during a period when prices and wages growth have been low.

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Lionel Messi scores twice as Barcelona thrash Osasuna 7-1
• Barcelona move three points clear ahead of Real Madrid’s game
• Javier Mascherano scores his first goal for Barcelona

Barcelona blitzed Osasuna with four goals in 10 second-half minutes to temporarily move three points clear at the top of La Liga with a 7-1 victory at the Camp Nou.

Luis Enrique rested several of his regular starters, including Luis Suárez, Andrés Iniesta and Jordi Alba – an understandable move following gruelling matches against Juventus and Real Madrid, and before the weekend’s derby at Espanyol.

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Middlesbrough lifted by Marten de Roon to pile more misery on Sunderland

Middlesbrough finally got round to winning their first Premier League game of 2017 as the so-called “derby of the doomed” represented a new nadir in David Moyes’s increasingly troubled Sunderland tenure.

Sunk by Marten de Roon’s early goal, Sunderland fans were left calling for their manager’s sacking and contemplating an imminent relegation to the Championship which, depending on results, could be confirmed as early as Saturday tea-time.

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Robert Huth’s own goal gives Arsenal welcome win over Leicester City

The Arsène Wenger celebration face at the end of it all was not as visceral or as liberating as the one he produced at Wembley on Sunday but the relief to snatch a win from the jaws of a dreary draw was still worth savouring. He might have the FA Cup in his sightlines but he can also cling to the possibility of a 19th consecutive Champions League qualification thanks to a freakish late goal.

It felt like one of those ominous days that Arsenal are familiar with in these parts against a dogged opponent, where the sideways passes can be soporific and the chances kept at bay. In the 86th minute, the ball pinged around an increasingly anxious Arsenal attack only for a deflected cross to end up with Nacho Monreal, who swung a leg at it. The ball diverted off Robert Huth’s chest and bobbled past Kasper Schmeichel. With that stroke of fortune a Wembley hangover turned into an unexpected Emirates party.

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Eriksen closes the gap for Tottenham with precious winner at Crystal Palace

This was a victory which spoke volumes for Tottenham Hotspur’s stubborn conviction that the title race is not done and dusted – far from it, in fact. Mauricio Pochettino’s team laboured for a while and even when they were in the ascendancy after the interval reward eluded them for a while as Crystal Palace, a team reborn, resisted with everything they could. But in the end the visitors’ quality told.

It was Christian Eriksen who broke the resistance, belting a low shot into the corner from 25 yards with Palace long since forced into a full-scale retreat, and ensured Chelsea must remain on edge for a while longer. An eighth league win in succession, a blistering run, has moved Spurs back to within four points of their rivals from across the capital, with Sunday’s fixtures suddenly looking critical yet again. While the leaders confront Everton at Goodison Park, Spurs must maintain their form in a north London derby. They will tear into that fixture with belief maintained that their pursuit can still yield the trophy.

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