News Ed Balls denied the claim that he would go beyond a 50p top tax rate

Ed Balls has vowed to increase the top tax rate for high earners to 50p

Shift that will keep Tories out of northern cities for years

Benefit changes are likely to ensure no Tory is elected as an MP by a northern city for some time  to come

Iain Duncan Smith defended the benefit caps

The real cost of benefits squeeze: £1,600 per family

Devastating research finds only one in eight households facing cuts will be able to find work

The decline in real wages in the UK is described as ‘stunning’

Fall in wages puts Britain in Europe's bottom four

Only workers in Greece, Portugal and the Netherlands have fared worse over the past three years

More 'tax-dodgers' added to most wanted list – but only one of last year's 20 has been caught

Ten new names added as HMRC renews appeal on 19 suspects wanted for variety of tax offences

Ben Chu: The weather is kind when it's raining excuses

Outlook Isn't the British weather wonderful? It saved England from defeat against the resurgent Australians and it's also been putting a rocket under retail sales.

Anthony Hilton: Why banking has to play second fiddle to politics

Lloyds' figures on Thursday showed the bank is fast returning to health and triggered a wave of speculation about when the Government might begin to sell its 39 per cent stake.

Surge in Lloyds shares puts it above Osborne's sell-off target

But Chancellor insists he will not be rushed into returning bank to full public ownership

Lord Howell: 'There are large, uninhabited and desolate areas, certainly in parts of the North East, where there is plenty of room for fracking'

Former energy minister Lord Howell (George Osborne’s father-in-law) says it’s fine to frack in ‘empty, desolate’ North-east

Tory grandee says there should be different rules for the South-east

David Blanchflower: Hold off on the bunting – 0.6 per cent growth does not a recovery make

Osborne is surely putting more pressure on Mark Carney to do more QE and soon

David Cameron during a televised interview held in the garden of 10 Downing Street

Tories would cut taxes after 2015, says David Cameron

David Cameron has indicated he intends to cut taxes if the Conservatives win the next election – but admitted he may not be able to prevent a rise if the economy deteriorated.

Dead end: East Jaywick, a suburb of Clacton in Essex, is the most deprived place in Britain

Government's welfare benefits and tax changes amount to 'speeded-up Thatcherism'

The economy may be growing, but inequality is rising more quickly than in 1980s, report warns

Simon Read: Improving economy? Not when we're haunted by debt

Some grim research was published this week. A survey by the insolvency trade body R3 showed that half of all UK adults are concerned about their debts, while two thirds of those struggling to make it to pay day blame the cost of living for their financial woes.

UK immigration queue for members of the EU

Migrants needed to pay for NHS spending or Britain will go broke, says OBR

Improve NHS efficiency drastically or face boom in national debt burden, Government forecaster warns

Industry figures Lord Browne, Baroness Hogg, Sam Laidlaw, and Lord Howell all advise the government

Revealed: Fracking industry bosses at heart of coalition

Campaigners warn of potential conflicts of interest from energy-sector leaders advising on policy

Protesters warn against new road plans: Critics say Chancellor's £18bn scheme will harm environment and do nothing to ease congestion

Hundreds of protesters walked the length of a controversial planned road route through the Sussex countryside yesterday on a national rally against the Government's £18bn road-building plans.

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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
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
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?