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.

Bank of England policymaker Kate Barker steps down

Bank of England rate setter Kate Barker is to step down from the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) after nine years, it was announced today.

Brown to launch campaign with pitch to middle classes

PM's set-piece speech in Coventry will lay out themes for general election

David Prosser: Darling's Budget bonus

Outlook So how much extra cash can Alistair Darling count on from the super-tax on banking bonuses as he prepares next month's pre-election Budget? And should the fact that he is on target to raise much more than was originally envisaged (remember, the Chancellor told us the tax would raise £550m) be regarded as good news or bad?

Barclays reports profits up 92% to £11.6 billion

Banking giant Barclays posted record annual profits of £11.6 billion for 2009 today as its two most senior bosses turned down bonuses for the second year in a row.

City bonuses soar despite super tax

eFinancialCareers finds payouts up 40 per cent

McBride scandal could have been avoided

Gordon Brown could have avoided one of the worst spin scandals in Downing Street history.

David Prosser: Osborne and Darling talk tough on debt

Outlook On one point at least, Gordon Brown and David Cameron must sympathise with each other: it's hard work reassuring voters you're not about to slash spending and raise taxes when your Chancellor (or shadow Chancellor) keeps banging on about doing more to cut the deficit.

Mark Steel: Just who do you vote for given this appalling choice?

The moment you think of voting Labour, up pops the unregretful Blair

Darling 'confident but cautious' over recovery

Chancellor Alistair Darling said today that he was "confident but cautious" that Britain was on the path to a sustained economic recovery.

Cameron will 'act early' to slash deficit

But Tory leader says public spending cuts in 2010 may not be 'extensive'

Bank chief raps 'inflated' bonus culture

The head of the UK's biggest bank hit out at the "inflated" bonus culture today and predicted smaller payouts for the industry in future.

Return to growth will help Brown

Prime Minister will claim credit for blunting impact of recession

UK 'could impose US-style banks levy'

The UK could still impose a US-style levy on banks to recoup money from the taxpayer bailout, City minister Lord Myners suggested today.

Andrew Grice: Labour is desperate to prove it can still change

The card symbolised a time for change, the most powerful message in politics

David Prosser: Britain's bonds are selling like hot cakes

Outlook So much for Britain's lack of creditworthiness. The Debt Management Office yesterday staged its first sale of gilts in 2010, auctioning £4bn of short-term government borrowing. With Pimco, the world's largest bond fund, this week warning that it plans to trim its exposure to the UK this year given its view that we are 80 per cent likely to see a credit rating downgrade, no doubt investors were few and far between? Well, no, actually. Total bids during the auction totalled £10bn.

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'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
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Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness