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Once the voice of the more civilised wing of the party, the think-tank is now firmly in the Let’s Get Nasty Again tendency

Conran staff basic pay is less than £2 per hour

One of Britain's most exclusive restaurant groups pays some of its waiting staff a basic wage of less than £2 per hour, The Independent has discovered.

Protesters confront diners at London restaurant

Carluccio's restaurant in London's Canary Wharf became the focus of our campaign for fair tips last night as demonstrators threatened to bring a busy evening to a standstill.

Leading article: Minimum, as in wage

When we launched our campaign for transparency in tipping, we highlighted the way in which some establishments use customers' tips to make the wages of their staff up to the legal minimum. Our argument was that tips are tips – a compliment paid by the customer to the individual server – and that the minimum wage is what employers are legally bound to pay their staff. For tips to be used in this way defeated the whole purpose of the minimum wage. A tip should always be a little something extra.

Downing Street adds voice to chorus of support for fair tips

Downing Street signalled yesterday that it will back the campaign to ensure Britain's 231,000 waiters receive a fairer share of money left in tips.

Tipping: Your views

Leading article: Service with a sting

When you go to a restaurant and leave a tip, whether in cash or before you tap out your pin number on the card machine, you surely do so in good faith.

Tipping - the unpalatable truth

What happens to the money you leave as tips and service charges in restaurants? Is it a bonus for the staff? Does the management skim off the lion's share? Or do the waiters and waitresses take home the minimum wage, no matter how generous you are? In a special investigation, Simon Usborne reveals how you can make a difference

Revealed: how the restaurant chains pocket your tips

Britain's restaurants are creaming off millions of pounds of customers' tips to boost their profits, an investigation by The Independent has found.

Short-changed: Britain's waiters and waitresses have their say

Louise Parry, 21, Shropshire

PM pledges to do more for serving troops

Gordon Brown said the Government would do "everything in our power" to improve conditions for the armed forces after General Sir Richard Dannatt, the head of the Army, compared the pay of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan to that of traffic wardens.

Chancellor's pledge on compensation package details

Chancellor Alistair Darling said today that he hoped to come forward with details of the compensation package, rushed forward yesterday to avert a backbench revolt over the scrapping of the 10p tax band, in the "reasonably near future".

Who is brave enough to be a foster parent?

Children in the headlines show the urgent need for temporary homes – but there's a shortage of carers

3.8percent increase in minimum wage

From October, the national minimum wage for people over 21 will go up by an above inflation 3.8 per cent, from £5.52 to £5.73 an hour. The rises for younger workers will also exceed inflation. For 18- to 21-year-olds the rate will be £4.77, up from £4.60, while 16- to 17-year-olds will get £3.53, up from £3.40.

Rescue centres close as Coastguard staff strike

The first-ever strike by coastguards led to the closure of rescue centres across the country today.

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Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform