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Osborne rules out income tax or national insurance rise

The Conservatives will not raise income tax or national insurance if they gain power again in May, Chancellor George Osborne has said.

Chancellor George Osborne said the Tories will not raise income tax or national insurance contributions. Credit: PA Wire

The pledge comes a week after David Cameron ruled out a rise in VAT at the final Prime Minister's Questions before the general election.

Mr Osborne told The Sun: "You have a very clear commitment from us that we are not going to increase VAT, national insurance or income tax. That is our commitment to working people, that we are there to help them."

In a joint interview by Mr Osborne and David Cameron, the Prime Minister also confirmed that he wanted to keep Osborne as Chancellor if the Tories return to Number 10.

Andrew Getty: Oil fortune heir found dead at LA home

Andrew Getty - the heir to the Getty oil fortune - has been found dead at his Los Angeles home, his family have said.

Police outside the Los Angeles home of Andrew Getty. Credit: Reuters

Getty, 47, was found dead in a bathroom after a woman called police to the home.

A statement from the Getty family confirmed his death but provided no further details.

His parents, Ann and Gordon Getty, said they would issue a further statement once more information becomes available at this "extremely difficult time".

Getty is the grandson of J Paul Getty, who founded the Getty oil company, and one of four sons of multibillionaire Gordon Getty, who is considered one of the richest men in the US.


Joni Mitchell: Iconic singer 'rushed to hospital'

Joni Mitchell - the iconic singer-songwriter - has been hospitalised, according to reports.

Joni Mitchell is reportedly in hospital after being found unconscious. Credit: Reuters

A statement on the singer's verified Twitter account said: "Joni has been hospitalised. We are awaiting official word on her condition and will post it here as soon as we know."

According to celebrity gossip website TMZ, the 71-year-old was rushed to hospital after being found unconscious at her home in Los Angeles on Tuesday afternoon.

The Canadian-born singer, best known for hits such as Big Yellow Taxi, has won eight Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Rock and Roll hall of fame in 1997.

Lib Dems: New fathers to get six weeks paternity leave

New fathers will receive six weeks of paternity leave - more than triple the current amount, under plans by the Liberal Democrats.

Nick Clegg will speak out his pledge to give all new fathers six weeks paternity leave today. Credit: PA Wire

Currently fathers receive two weeks of paternity leave, but Nick Clegg has said he wants to "tear down barriers" and extend it to six weeks.

Fathers will be entitled to ordinary paternity pay at the prevailing statutory rate, which is currently £138.18 a week.

The increased leave would be available on a "use it or lose it basis" to fathers in all parts of the UK except Northern Ireland, which has separate employment laws.

The party acknowledged the policy may not be popular with businesses, but said it will help balance childcare effectively between men and women.

Mr Clegg said: "For too long, mums have been told their place is at home with their child, while dads return to work. I want parents to choose for themselves how to balance work and family."

TUC welcome Labour's zero-hours contracts plans

Frances O'Grady, the general secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has welcomed Ed Miliband's proposals to effectively outlaw zero-hours contracts.

Zero-hours workers are often too afraid to speak up for their rights for fear of losing work.

We need a fairer system that guarantees zero-hours workers decent rights at work and stops them from being treated like second-class employees.

– Frances O'Grady


Iran nuclear talks: Obama informed of progress

US President Barack Obama has been updated on nuclear negotiations between Iran and world powers as talks continued past the deadline.

The White House released a photo of President Obama receiving an update on the talks. Credit: White House

The US State Department said enough progress had been made to warrant an extension, although there still were "several difficult issues" to overcome.

The president was pictured holding a video call with members of his national security team to discuss the talks, although no further details were released.

Representatives from the US, UK, France, China, Russia plus Germany - known as the P5+1 - have been locked in talks with Iran in Lausanne, Switzerland for days over the country's nuclear programme.

They aim to stop Iran from developing a nuclear bomb in exchange for relief from sanctions, which have left its economy crippled.

CBI: Miliband risks 'playing with jobs' with zero-hours plan

Ed Miliband could be creating more instability for workers with his plans to effectively ban zero-hours contracts, a leading business group has said.

CBI Director-General John Cridland. Credit: PA Wire

John Cridland, the director-general of the CBI, said Britain's flexible jobs market had helped deliver an employment rate "that is the envy of other nations", accusing Mr Miliband of "playing with jobs".

"Of course action should be taken to tackle abuses, but demonising flexible contracts is playing with the jobs that many firms and many workers value and need," he said.

"These proposals run the risk of a return to day-to-day hiring in parts of the economy, with lower stability for workers and fewer opportunities for people to break out of low pay."

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