Chancellor George Osborne has repeatedly insisted that the task of clearing the deficit is not completed

George Osborne insists Britain must make £25bn more welfare cuts in 2014

The Chancellor has branded 2014 the 'year of hard truths'

David Cameron sidestepped awkward questions on pensioner benefits on ‘The Andrew Marr Show’

Pensioner perks under threat after next election, David Cameron admits

PM hints that wealthy retirees could lose benefits if Tories win next election, as he sets out key policies for manifesto

The Business Matrix: Monday 6 January 2014

Hammond in fresh reform bid

Lord Ashcroft says Tories need ‘a coalition of voters’ to win next time

Half of defecting Tory voters would go to Ukip, says poll

The Conservatives attracted just 6 per cent of those who did not vote for them at the last election

UK weather: Britain faces another barrage of rain as coastal regions count cost of 'worst storms in 20 years'

Two dead, a teenager missing, damage to homes and businesses, transport disrupted. And it isn't over. More rain, high tides and gale-force winds are on the way

George Osborne has been accused of burying a 'stealth cut' in the Autumn statement

George Osborne's 'stealth cuts' will force millions to miss economic recovery

More than three million low-income families risk missing out on the economic recovery even if wages start to keep pace with inflation, according to an analysis for The Independent.

David Cameron called Anne McIntosh one of the party's 'most assiduous' MPs

North Yorkshire female MP Anne McIntosh faces deselection in challenge to David Cameron

One of the Conservatives’ few female MPs in the North of England is facing a damaging second reselection battle amid an outbreak of infighting.

David Cameron in 2006, with candidates for the 2010 election, announcing a drive for more women to be selected

David Cameron's dream of an 'A-list' of women candidates fades

Less than a third of those selected so far in Tory constituencies are women, as Prime Minister becomes frustrated with slow progress of modernising his party

Waves hit the seafront at Brighton

Government warned to cancel flood specialists job cuts as storms continue to batter UK

More than 1,600 posts are due to go at the Environment Agency by October

The National Union of Teachers and the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers have warned they plan to resume strike action by mid-February if there is no sign of 'significant progress' in talks with Education Secretary Michael Gove

NUT say New Year survey is 'damning indictment' against Michael Gove

YouGov survey shows 79 per cent of teachers believed the Government's impact on education system was on the whole 'negative'

Dr Fox said doctors and nurses were partly responsible for incidences of poor care, referring to the Stafford Hospital scandal

Liam Fox calls for end to ring-fencing of finances for 'wasteful NHS'

Former Shadow Health Secretary, Dr Liam Fox, says an obsession with targets and spending was 'killing patients'

How Ed Miliband can harness the right's tactics to bring in a wave of left-wing populism in 2014

Simple messages must be repeated ad infinitum, hammered into the electorate’s skulls

In a letter sent to Iain Duncan Smith, campaigners warned that disabled people make up two thirds of those hit by the policy

Bedroom tax hits 60,000 families with carers

About 60,000 families living in council homes where there is someone caring for an elderly or disabled relative have been caught out by the “bedroom tax”.

The Independent's survey shows it has not been a good year for the three main Westminster parties

No winners in poll of polls as Tories, Labour and Liberal Democrats fail to seize initiative

The Independent’s survey shows it has not been a good year for the three main Westminster parties

A pint with Alex Salmond? ‘I’d check my wallet,’ says David Cameron

The PM’s comments came when he was asked who he’d rather head down to the local boozer with: Nick Clegg, Ed Milliband or Alex Salmond

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Barn owls are among species that could be affected
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Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
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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?

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As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
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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

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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
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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

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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
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Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
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Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

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Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

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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