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.

Darling's growth figures were too optimistic, says poll

Businessmen are not convinced by some of the key arguments in Alistair Darling's Budget, according to a survey for The Independent.

Andreas Whittam Smith: The triumph of political mendacity

There is no distinction between Mr Darling and the rest of the political class

David Prosser: Next's man never misses an opportunity

Outlook: Another set of results from Next and another pitch from its youthful chief executive, Simon Wolfson, for a post in a David Cameron government. Asked yesterday whether he could think of anything good in Alistair Darling's Budget, he replied "nothing".

Computer games: Games industry welcomes extra help

Video game developers yesterday hailed Alistair Darling's decision to offer tax breaks to the industry in a move designed to head off an exodus of top talent from the UK.

Michael Brown: Darling is disastrous but his argument is plausible – the Tories must up their game

In autumn the Tories won the argument but focus groups said their message scared voters

Industry: Business rate cuts and extra lending cheers small business

Small businesses were among the chief beneficiaries of yesterday's pre-election Budget, as the Chancellor introduced measures designed to promote industrial growth.

Business Diary: Repaying the good people of Hartlepool

Good to see Lord Mandelson, right, hasn't forgotten his old constituents since leaving the Commons. The former Hartlepool MP's Department of Business offered the French oil giant Total preferential tax treatment to open up two new gas fields in the North Sea. That has lead to a new contract for the steel company Corus, where 350 jobs will now be saved at its factory in Hartlepool, which will build a pipeline for Total.

Ben Chu: Darling giveth - and taketh away

So much for Alistair Darling's promise that this budget would contain no pre-election give-aways.

Chancellor announces 'bank accounts for all' plan

The Government today announced plans to guarantee everyone access to a basic bank account.

Alistair Darling to reveal 'bank account for everyone' plan

Banks are to be put under an obligation to provide a free basic account to every UK citizen under new measures expected to be unveiled by Chancellor Alistair Darling in tomorrow's Budget.

MPs attack 'ludicrous' Foreign Office currency move

The "ludicrous" decision to stop protecting the Foreign Office budget from fluctuations in exchange rates has caused an "unacceptable risk" to its ability to function properly, MPs said today.

On the Brink, By Hank Paulson

The US Treasury Secretary defends shutting Lehmans

Leading article: The bright side of the banks

Alistair Darling is not used to receiving so much good news. Hot on the heels of Thursday's surprisingly resilient government borrowing figures arrives the unexpected revelation from Lloyds Banking Group, in which the taxpayer owns a 41 per cent stake, that it now hopes to turn a profit this year.

David Prosser: Darling faces another row with Brown

Outlook Be careful what you wish for. Alistair Darling will be delighted that government borrowing now looks set to come in well below the forecasts he made three months ago in his pre-Budget report – such revisions have generally been the other way round with this Government in recent times. Still, now the Chancellor has a tricky decision to make: does he spend his windfall next week on Budget sweeteners for swing voters, or leave it in the bank as a downpayment on deficit reduction?

Econoblog: Borrowing - not as bad as it might have been

The long and short of it is that Alistair Darling will have maybe another £15bn to splash around in next weeks Budget.

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Minoan Crete and Santorini
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Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen