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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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Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee