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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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore