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."

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform