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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