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

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.

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

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No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor