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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Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
filmDirector said film would 'never have been financed' with ethnic minority actors in key roles
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footballArsenal 2 Borussia Dortmund 0: And they can still top the group
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An unseen image of Kurt Cobain at home featured in the film 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck'
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Andy Murray with his girlfriend of nine years, Kim Sears who he has got engaged to
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Jake Quickenden and Edwina Currie are joining the I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! camp
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George Mpanga has been shortlisted for the Critics’ Choice prize
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Albert Camus (left) and Jean-Paul Sartre fell out in 1952 and did not speak again before Camus’s death
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Roisin, James and Sanjay in the boardroom
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Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?