That's true about the cheap host. Anyone can open a web hosting "reseller" account, and then sell hosting plans to an unsuspecting public. It doesn't mean that they will be honest, or know what they're doing. (I own a few reseller accounts, but I use them for my own domains and for my friends. I'd never want to start a reseller businessâ€”I'd be in over my head!)
I'm not sure what you want either, or what you consider a "good control panel." I also don't know what difference it would make if your host was in the USA, unless you believe that most of your visitors are from the UK, and a site coming from a USA host would take longer to load. (I don't know if there would be noticable lag in speed or not.)
I am the queen of hostingâ€”I have tried out many, and I tend to be drawn towards the budget hosts. I've found a few good ones for my somewhat modest needs. They average about $10-15 US a month. (You can sticky me if you are curious who'd I recommend, but I emphasize that just because I like them, it doesn't mean they'd be right for you.)
All the hosts I use offer FrontPage extensions (that's pretty standard these days), are Linux hosts (which I prefer) and have a nice cPanel control panel, which offers lots of features, nice stats (usually AWStats, which I really like), web mail, hotlink protection (a big deal for me), an easy way to set up add-on domains, (which is what you'd be usingâ€”it would create a subdomain and point a new domain to it, so that extrasite.com actually points to extrasite.primarysite.com). As an alternative, you could get a small reseller account and manage your domains through it. Reseller accounts can be a little more expensiveâ€”maybe more like $15-20 US (or more) a month, though there are a few that are as little as $5. (But how good they are I cannot say.)
The hard drive space offered on a lot of these sites is plentyâ€”usually 1-3 GB or so, and bandwidth can be anywhere between 10 GB to 60+ GB. If all these features sound like they'd be what you need, then that's what you should get. I know of some decent hosts who have been reliable for me, and that fit these descriptions.