Voices

Both sides know that the top rate of income tax is mainly symbolic

Two-thirds say the cuts will hit the poor hardest

Only a quarter of people think the Government's spending cuts are fair, amid growing concern that the most vulnerable sections of society are not being protected.

Lib Dem peer resigns in protest at cave-in on deal

The Liberal Democrats' Treasury spokesman in the House of Lords resigned last night in protest at what he saw as a cave-in by David Cameron and George Osborne in the Government's negotiations with the banks. Lord Oakeshott told The Independent: "I am afraid the banks have taken the Treasury for a ride. I decided I that felt more comfortable saying that from the back benches than the front bench."

David Prosser: A pyrrhic victory in the Chancellor's battle with the banks

Outlook That's told them. Those naughty banks, still refusing to sign up to new lending targets despite their role in plunging Britain into recession, now know who is boss. The punishment for their failure to agree to the Project Merlin deal on lending is another £800m of bank levy tax.

The Sketch: Osborne shows no fear as the big fight turns out to be a mismatch

My, how he's grown. Isn't it remarkable how the trappings of the priestly caste make it look as though George Osborne knows what he's talking about? Just because he is able to say he will group questions; just because he has got his voice by the throat; just because people are beginning to get used to the idea that when someone says "Chancellor of the Exchequer" they mean him – just because of those things, he can play at student debating and make it look like serious politics.

Sean O'Grady: Osborne's City 'friends' may be in for a shock

George Osborne is not a stupid man, though often underestimated. He and Vince Cable know that nothing would be more damaging to the Coalition parties than a public perception, lovingly nourished by Ed Balls, that they are "The Bankers' Friends". For Cable it would represent the ultimate betrayal of a career built on attacks on the City's bonus culture and "casino banks". For Osborne, it would be seen as a reversion to type for a millionaire Tory Chancellor to cuddle up to his banker mates.

George Osborne in £800m tax raid on banks

Chancellor George Osborne today hit the banks with a surprise £800 million tax raid as he announced the Government's new bank levy was to be made permanent.

Video: Balls takes on Osborne for the first time

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls has clashed with George Osborne for the first time in the House of Commons.

Balls accuses Tories over bonus taxes

Labour has accused the Tories of failing to do enough to curb bankers' bonuses. Ed Balls, the shadow Chancellor, said there had been "sound and fury" from the Coalition on bonuses but no action since the election last May.

Osborne predicts 'turmoil' if cuts scrapped

Britain would be in "financial turmoil" if the Coalition abandoned its deficit reduction plan, and has no alternative but to follow it through, George Osborne warned today.

Ed Balls: Same old Tories, still doing it Maggie's way

The relentless tax hikes and budget cuts are a high-stakes political strategy taken from Mrs Thatcher's guide to winning elections

James Moore: Is Mr Osborne trying to tip us off a cliff with his deficit shock therapy?

Outlook George Osborne was talking tough yesterday, with a nod to the heroine (Mrs Thatcher) whose name he dare not mention in public in case it upsets the voters. "We will not be blown off course by the weather," he boldly proclaimed, as the economy nosedived into a tailspin.

The Sketch: Now lurking in the shadows: Labour's beast with two Eds

Now that the shadow Leader and shadow Chancellor are set in place for the rest of the parliament, one thing we know.

Balls under fire for 'soft touch' with the banks

Ed Balls fended off criticism of his record from Labour colleagues and Conservative and Liberal Democrat opponents yesterday as he tried to clear the ground for a full-scale attack on the Coalition Government.

Mary Ann Sieghart: Ed Balls will be a disaster for Labour

His problem is mainly one of arrogance. Like Gordon Brown, he believes he's superior to almost everyone

Labour to 'pull together' after Johnson departure

Labour's shadow cabinet will "pull together" and leave behind the problems of the past following Alan Johnson's decision to quit frontline politics, Douglas Alexander has said.

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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
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Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?