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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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
Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

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
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect