News Ed Balls denied the claim that he would go beyond a 50p top tax rate

Ed Balls could consider increasing the top rate of tax to 55p or even 60p if he became Chancellor, former Trade minister Digby Jones claimed today.

Brown launches £50m boiler scrappage scheme

Gordon Brown yesterday launched a Government scheme offering families a discount to trade in their old boilers for new ones, in a bid to cut emissions and reduce bills.

Robin Scott-Elliot: FA Cup lacking in glitter but darts remains pure gold

View From The Sofa: World Darts, FA Cup Third Round/BBC, Sky, ITV

Consumers faced with New Year VAT increase

Today is the last day that consumers can benefit from the temporary VAT rate of 15 per cent before it returns to 17.5 per cent in the New Year.

David Prosser: Chancellor's stocking is still empty

Outlook: So Alistair Darling didn't get an early Christmas present after all. After the initial, truly shocking, estimate of a third-quarter 0.4 per cent contraction in GDP, an upwards revision and better-than-expected construction numbers raised hopes that the third quarter might in the end have come in flat or even slightly ahead.

British economy faces long hard slog to real recovery

CBI's forecast of weak 2010 growth is far from the Chancellor's upbeat outlook

Public borrowing hits all-time high

Public borrowing hit an all-time high of £20.3 billion for a single month in November, official figures showed today.

New part-time jobs boost rise in employment

Hopes that Britain may soon emerge from its worst recession in three-quarters of a century were boosted with the publication yesterday of the latest jobless numbers.

The Sketch: He's got a moustache – and that's about it

They don't tell lies, these people, but that's very different from saying they tell the truth

Steve Richards: So who said what to whom? The truth about the cuts debate

The decision to put up taxes again caused angst beyond the Treasury

Bruce Anderson: From Blair to Darling, Labour only ever acts out of self-interest

If Brown could scrape home, he wouldn't care what state the country was in

Treasury prepares for Tory austerity

Officials in the Treasury are already preparing plans for much sharper cuts in public spending in the event of the Conservatives coming to power, according to Whitehall sources.

Anger over exceptions to state pensions increases

Pensioners' leaders accused Alistair Darling yesterday of an "underhand and shabby" move after it emerged that his promise of a 2.5 per cent rise did not apply to all elements of the state pension.

Government accused over 'shabby' pensions move

The Government was today accused of treating pensioners in an "underhand and shabby" manner after it was disclosed that its promised 2.5 per cent rise did not apply to all elements of the state pension.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown denies rift with Chancellor Alistair Darling

Gordon Brown today said it was "completely wrong" to suggest that he overruled Alistair Darling over taking tougher measures to reduce Britain's ballooning deficit.

The Sketch: The Tories' attack plan isn't risible – it's pitiful

So, they say shadow leader of the House Sir George Young will be "needed in government" after the election and won't stand for Speaker, should another election come about. He's one of the few front-bench Tories with ministerial experience. He did the railways, I seem to recall. Any experience is better than none.

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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

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Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering