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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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 20 February 2015
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003