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The party would also add more than £100 a week to match the minimum wage

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: George Osborne’s lame pun takes Balls-baiting to a new level

Revelling in the latest growth figures, George Osborne lifted Balls-baiting to a new plane. He was asked an unusually long list of super-friendly questions by euphoric Tory backbenchers. Ones that in the secret dreams of the MPs involved, invite the answer: “Yes. My honourable friend has absolutely hit the nail on the head with that spiffing question correctly mentioning our long-term economic plan, allowing me to lay into the Opposition, and qualifying him for early promotion.”

A defiant George Osborne during Treasury Questions in the House of Commons

Labour accuses Tories of planning another 'tax cut for millionaires' as George Osborne fails to rule out a cut in the top rate from 45p to 40p

George Osborne refused to rule out a cut in the top rate of tax from 45p to 40p today as the Conservatives and Labour clashed over the economy.

MPs join strikes at the University of London as campaign for better pay and conditions for outsourced workers continues

Around 50 workers and supporters took to the picket lines at the University of London today, armed with music, whistles, flags and placards as part of an ongoing campaign to win better pay and conditions for the university’s outsourced workers.

Vince Cable: 'There are different ways of finishing the job. Not all require the pace and scale of cuts set out by the Chancellor'

Vince Cable warns against housing bubble-linked recovery

Vince Cable has warned a housing boom could mean the economic recovery is merely a “short term bounce” in a warning shot aimed at the Liberal Democrats' Coalition partners.

The vow to crack down on errant behaviour appears carefully timed to seize momentum on one of the most important electoral years in the party’s 21-year history

Nigel Farage vows to crack down on Ukip's 'Walter Mitty' candidates following embarrassment of David Silvester gay marriage flooding comments

Nigel Farage has vowed to crack-down on Ukip’s “Walter Mitty” candidates who jeopardise the party’s image as he prepares a campaigning offensive ahead of May’s European elections.

Only 28 per cent of respondents agreed they would be better off with Ed Miliband and Ed Balls

Opinion poll exclusive: Labour lead cut to one point after Tories gain on living standards

Labour’s lead over the Conservatives has dropped to just one point amid signs that the Tories are making headway in the crucial political battle over living standards, according to an opinion poll for The Independent.

Syrian refugees look out from an evacuated house in Istanbul. Hundreds of Syrian refugees will be allowed to come to Britain under new government plans

Government U-turn will see hundreds of Syrian refugees come to Britain

Hundreds of Syrian refugees will be allowed to come to Britain under plans to be announced by the Government on Wednesday.

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

Business leaders slam Labour over 50p tax rate

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

Prime Minister David Cameron is to announce Government plans to scrap and amend rules affecting firms at the Federation of Small Business conference on Monday

'Crazy rules dreamt up by Whitehall bureaucrats' are to be scrapped, David Cameron to announce at FSB conference

The Prime Minister's speech comes after the FSB said the Government and big companies must to do more to help smaller firms

Taxing times: The politics of Ed Balls’s pledge to reintroduce the 50p rate may be sound. But the economics are not

The 50p rate simply does not bring in enough money to justify its own existence

The former stand-up comedian announced on the Jonathan Ross show that he will stand as a politician in the next European elections

It’s time to get serious about NHS, says comedian Rufus Hound

34-year-old to run for single-issue party at Euro elections

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

Top tax rate ‘could go up to 60p’ if Labour win next election

Ed Balls could consider increasing the top rate of tax to 55p or even 60p if he became Chancellor, former Trade minister Digby Jones claimed today.

Ed Balls will tell the Fabian society that Labour 'will look at new ways of delivering public services'

'Labour will bring back 50p income tax for top earners' says Ed Balls

Shadow Chancellor would shift the burden of the deficit to the rich, raising £10bn in three years

MP moves to reform zero-hours contracts

The first attempt at banning the exploitative use of controversial zero-hours contracts has been put before Parliament and could help an estimated one million workers.

A Bedroom Tax protest outside the SNP Autumn Conference in October 2013; nine months after its introduction, the policy is still dividing opinions

The 'bedroom tax' remains one of the most divisive of Coalition policies

Labour has pledged to abolish the scheme

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

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This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

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One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
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Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

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Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

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Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

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Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

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