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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.

Tipping: Your views

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.

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.

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

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

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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