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.

Petrol prices 'heading for record high'

Petrol prices will reach record levels this year, according to research by the AA.

Government's Moneymadeclear service offers financial advice for free

A free financial advice service has been launched by the Government. Called Moneymadeclear, it offers a telephone helpline, website and face-to-face sessions with independent financial experts. The service will cost around £20m in the first year and is being jointly funded by the Government and the Financial Services Authority. In future years it will be paid for by taking up to £100m from dormant bank accounts, as announced in last year's pre-Budget report.

I would sack Osborne if I had to, says Cameron

David Cameron would be prepared to sack George Osborne from his government despite the close friendship between the men, the Tory leader insists in an interview tomorrow.

David Prosser: The battle for fiscal credibility

Outlook: Governments should retain their duty to set spending priorities and raise taxation

'Lay foundations for growth,' BCC tells Alistair Darling

British growth will stall in 2011 as the economy struggles to overcome a series of obstacles this year, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has warned in its latest forecast released today.

Inheritance tax would be 'all but abolished'

Conservative plans to slash inheritance tax would effectively abolish the tax "for practical purposes", shows research by the leading accountants, Grant Thornton, for The Independent. In the proposals by the shadow chancellor George Osborne, unveiled in 2007, the threshold would be raised from the present £325,000 to £1m.

Gordon Brown, bullying, and what we've learnt about life at No 10

<i>The IoS</i> guide to sifting fact from fiction in the furore surrounding the Downing Street revelations

George Osborne finds favour in business poll as Alistair Darling's credibility sinks

Shadow Chancellor 'has the right ideas' on the economy despite his lack of experience

Forces of hell, part II: Brown and Darling's Budget rift

After Chancellor's attack on Downing Street briefing, new divisions emerge over pre-election sweeteners

Leading article: The Chancellor's slings and arrows can wound

Mr Darling's defence is also an attack on leadership at Number 10

David Cameron taunts PM over 'war' with Darling

Conservatives today claimed that Gordon Brown was "at war" with his Chancellor after Alistair Darling complained that "the forces of hell" were unleashed against him by Downing Street aides.

Darling 'faced forces of hell' from No 10

Chancellor reveals how Brown's aides briefed against him over recession

Andy McSmith: I don't recognise this portrait of Brown

Tales of the Prime Minister's temper are in the news again. Andy McSmith, who used to work with Gordon Brown, says his old colleague is getting an unfair press

Veteran of the MPC leaves after turbulent decade

The longest serving external member of the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee is to step down.

Economists back Alistair Darling over cuts delay

More than 60 leading economists backed Chancellor Alistair Darling today over his decision to delay spending cuts until next year.

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas