A third of employees would prefer flexible working hours to a £1,000 pay rise, according to new research.

A survey, of 4,000 adults also found that the right to work flexible was far more important than any other perk.

The findings are published today to highlight a new package of family-friendly working practices to be introduced in April. These include an obligation on employers seriously to consider requests for flexible hours or part-time working from parents of children aged less than six.

Drinks makers sold in Safeway, Sainsbury’s and Debenhams have been recalled after it was found that blades inside them could come loose.

Devon Ceramics recalled its Cocktail Blender Set, Smoothie Kit and Gourmet Milkshake MIxer.

Sniffer dogs trained to detect meat and dairy produce in travellers hand luggage have been deployed at Britain’s ports and airports in a crackdown on imported foods.

The scheme is aimed at reducing the risk of another foot-and mouth outbreak and protect livestock from foreign pests.

Apples could stay fresh for up to three months if dipped in a natural fungicide found in grape juice.

Experiments in Madrid have shown that dipping the fruit in a diluted solution of it has a dramatic effect on its shelf life without effects on its taste.

Instead of moulding away in a couple of weeks, 90% were fresh and edible after 60 days and some survived longer.